In what’s being described as a “landmark” decision, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week officially declared free expression on the Internet a basic human right. The non-biding resolution puts pressure on nation states around the world to protect free speech online, but does not require them to do so. “This outcome is momentous for the Human Rights Council,” said Eileen Donahoe, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., in an interview with reporters. “It’s the first ever U.N. resolution affirming that human rights in the digital realm must be protected and promoted to the same extent and with the same commitment as human rights in the physical world.”The resolution was presented by a global coalition, including Brazil, Nigeria, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States, plus dozens of other co-sponsors. Both China and Cuba, two states known for their repressive policies, expressed certain reservations, but ultimately backed the resolution.“We believe that the free flow of information on the Internet and the safe flow of information on the Internet are mutually dependent,” said Xia Jingge, China’s envoy to the U.N., to the UNHRC assembly. “As the Internet develops rapidly, online gambling, pornography, violence, fraud and hacking are increasing its threat… Read full this story
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