RNW, 28 March 2011
Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal wants the international community to fight against limitations on freedom of expression on the internet. “The new media have the power to change the world in a positive way, as we have seen in the advances made by protests in the Arab World,” he said at a meeting of the International Digital Economy Accords in Brussels.
Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal
“I’m seriously worried about the blocking of and limitations around the internet which have been put into place in some countries over the last few years,” he went on. The minister says that governments are responsible, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for the free flow of information.
He believes there should be a debate within the European Union on the involved question of whether exports of internet filter technology to oppressive regimes should be banned. He also thinks the private sector has a part to play: independent companies have shown themselves capable of putting countries which censor the internet under pressure.
Mr Rosenthal believes international regulations around the internet and its use should be drawn up. He also advocates financial and political support being given to dissidents who use the internet to fight for freedom. A number of years ago, the Netherlands launched a fund for supporting the internet activities of dissidents in countries with oppressive regimes, such as Myanmar and Iran.