These rights are clearly repressed in dictatorships as China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and many of the United States allies such as Saudi Arabia, United Emirates, Bahrain etc. But also the citizens of Western countries face the lecherous appetite of politicians for data retention, three strike laws, copyright enforcement and internet filters. The UN report notes anxiously the increasing attempts to deprive citizens from their basic rights to information, social interaction and freedom of expression and opinion. The report outlines various ways in which countries all over the world establish forms of internet censorship. Feigning to combat child pornography, cyber terrorism and computer viruses, European politicians actually try to help old media industries to secure their monolithic and outdated business models. Germany, UK and the Netherlands have lately seen heated debates concerning Internet filters. Those debates show how fragile our freedom is to freely use the greatest infrastructure for information and social interaction.
The report emphasises "the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole." The report goes further in applying human rights standards to freedom of opinion and expression to the internet. This document constitutes an important statement that might serve as an argument to prevent further restrictions to internet use.
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Date June 2011
The latest report of the United Nation's special rapporteur Frank La Rue clearly condemns Internet censorship. The report strongly emphasises the right of all citizens to freedom of opinion and expression.