WACC opposes proposed restrictions on the internet
Repressive measures that could restrict freedom of expression and infringe fundamental communication rights will be discussed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai in December 2012.
According to Fight for the Future, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting the transformative power of the Internet, several governments around the world are pressing for a binding international treaty that will expand the powers of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a government-dominated institution, and legitimise monitoring and blocking online traffic.
Fight for the Future has launched a global campaign to contest proposals that limit freedom of expression and the right to communicate. It argues that such proposals could “threaten privacy, seek to impose new fees for accessing content, or could very well slow down connection speeds.”
“The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) affirms that the Internet is part of the common good of today’s information and communication societies,” said WACC’s General Secretary, the Rev. Dr Karin Achtelstetter.
“As such it should be run honestly, transparently and democratically. We are concerned that these proposals will enable government control of the Internet and infringe fundamental human rights, especially the right to communicate.”
According to the OpenNet Initiative, more than 40 countries engage in Internet censorship. Those with the most pervasive ltering policies have been found to routinely block access to human rights organisations, news, blogs, and web services that challenge the status quo or are deemed threatening or undesirable.
Others block access to single categories of Internet content, or intermittently to specific websites or network services to coincide with strategic events, such as elections or public demonstrations.
WACC believes that communication is a basic human right, essential to people’s dignity and community and advocates full access to information and communication. Controlling the Internet prevents equitable access, but it is not limited to filtering or plain censorship. Recent years have seen an increase in threats to citizen journalists and the arrest of bloggers and Internet users.
“We have to challenge such repressive measures and support the campaign to keep the Internet open and free for all,” said Achtelstetter, encouraging WACC members and partners to take action and sign the petition.