Because its development began in our lifetimes, many of us who still recall life pre-internet find it difficult to grasp the idea of it rising to the level of a basic human right. After all, we survived just fine before we ever got wired, right?
Well, that’s just it. Back then there wasn’t a web that interconnected every aspect of our lives, so of course we didn’t need it in order to function. But now? There are some compelling reasons why internet access does fit that description. Here are 10 reasons that internet access is a basic human right:
Communications Medium – From the standpoint that it provides each person a global voice with which to be heard, it is a basic human right.
Accessing Information – There is no other means whereby an individual may access so much information, much of it essential to existing within a society.
Connection to the World – The internet provides a bridge between nations, where freedom can be promoted, and by which those who are denied such freedoms can get their stories heard, and spread across the globe. Witness the case of the Egyptians’ revolt against Mubarak.
It’s the Modern-Day Town Hall – For its ability to inform, lobby, share, mobilize and to warn others of injustices in the world, the internet is a basic human right.
Commerce – Eventually there will be little or no reason for the ‘e’ appendage, as e-commercewill become the primary venue for many consumers. Therefore, internet access is going to be necessary to obtain goods.
Government Information – For most citizens of countries with internet access, obtaining government data or documents, if possible at all, is done so online. Freedom of information is the right of every citizen, and the web is where we find it.
Isolation – We have seen what can happen in a country where denial of internet access was imposed. Cut off from the rest of the world, the result was an inability for the global community to communicate with victims of repression, and other human rights violations.
The Medium is the Message – Those things which have traditionally been regarded as human rights – freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and expression – are so closely linked to and, in many ways, dependent upon internet access to be fully realized, that one must consider it to be in and of itself another basic human right.
Interactive Information – The uniqueness of the internet, in that it allows users to instantly and interactively share information, rather than just passively receiving it, means that people can communicate and respond to ideas and issues instantaneously and inexpensively, across borders.
Protection of Rights – Unless internet access is acknowledged by governing bodies to be a basic human right, there is no guarantee that access to such a vital link to each other and to information will be kept open to all.