Is Internet An Unassailable Right?


RECENT developments in Europe on Internat access legislation are indeed welcome, and point to a freer and less fettered access to this important human resource. If anything, governments around the world must follow suit and ensure that their citizens benefit from this essential resource.

Like may people around the world, I use the Internet on a daily basis, and when I can not get online access I feel sick. I am not exaggerating. For me, the internet has become as important as breathing. I have to have it or at least I have to know that I can have it.

That’s why I was so intrigued to read a recent New York Times report that European lawmakers agreed on new protections for Internet users.

Part of the report stated that consumer organizations that wanted to enshrine Internet access as an unassailable right. Governments in Europe have in past few months mooted ways to limit internet access to those deemed to be engaging in illegal downloads.

“Under the compromise, any decision to sever Internet access, an approach championed by several E.U. countries seeking to clamp down on digital copying of music and movies, must be subject to a legal review,” reported the New York Times.

In other parts of the world such as Africa, governments are not as interested in ensuring universal access to the internet as much as they are obsessed about controlling it. The United Nations’ plan that every village in the world will have access to the internet by 2015 can only be realized if governments around the world begin to recognize access to the internet as an important human right.

Commenting on the development, Catherine Trautmann, a member of parliament from Strasbourg, France, said: “It is the first time that we affirm that access to Internet is an essential tool to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms. It is progress for the rights of citizens.”

I firmly agree with Trautmann that the internet is a key human innovation that can exponentially expand the whole concept of human rights. In fact, it can facilitate the exercise of other rights and freedoms.

Governments in the world must be forced to acknowledge the fact that access to the internet is an unassailable right.

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