July 10, 2012
United Nations Says Internet Access is a Basic Human Right

Internet access and online freedom of expression is now considered a basic human right. The United Nations’ Human Rights Council unanimously passed the resolution last Thursday, affirming that all people should be able to express themselves freely and openly online, without fear of being disconnected.

“The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice,” reads the report, issued by the UN last Friday.

Ironically, the report was released on the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two-thirds of the internet access had abruptly been knocked out in Syria — a country currently experiencing political unrest and known for its human rights abuse.

Following the massive role social media networks played in the Arab Spring uprising, often referred to as the “Internet revolution,” and in what is perhaps the clearest proof to date of social media’s undeniable influence in the arena of social and political empowerment, all 47 members of the Human Rights Council—the UN’s main human rights body that monitors human rights violations across all member countries—unanimously backed the notion that freedom of expression online is a basic human right, including notoriously censorship-prone China and Cuba.