U.N. expert promoting Internet governance

As a powerful global information resource, the Internet must be accessible to everyone and measures to ensure this must be taken, a United Nations independent expert said Friday.

“Since the Internet is essentially a global resource, it is crucial that appropriate Internet governance supports the right of everyone to have access to and use information and communication technologies in self-determined and empowering ways,” said the U.N. special rapporteur on cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, adding that a “human-rights based approach to the issue should always be adopted.”

Ms. Shaheed emphasized the importance of governance on this issue since the Internet has become a powerful medium through which individuals can exercise a wide range of human rights.

“The Internet has become a key element for the enjoyment and the promotion of human rights such as the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds regardless of frontiers; the right to share and enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications; the right to participate in cultural life and engage with others through inter-cultural dialogue; as well as the right to development,” she said.

Ms. Shaheed noted that the Internet can also play an important role promoting democratic participations, accountability, transparency and economic development, and this highlights the need to “maintain it as a global source for all to enjoy.”

In particular, she underscored that the Internet should not be divided into national spheres and it should be guarded against any monopolistic appropriation which could reduce the public spaces where social actors interact as equals.

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