The Internet, Man’s Newest Human Right

Pursuant to a 1976 amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, the State Department issued its annual report for 2006.  The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices serves as “encyclopedia on human rights abuses” by 196 countries and entities around the world.  The use of the Internet is added to the list for 2006.

For the first time, the 2006 reports will include a section in each country’s report regarding respect for freedom of speech on the Internet. Although the growth of the Internet is a great trend for democratization, Bibbins Sedaca said, it has been paired with a trend of governments wanting to control the use of the Internet. The Internet threatens repressive governments because it threatens their control, she said. The more information people are getting from the Internet, the less governments can control the minds and information flow of their citizens, Bibbins Sedaca said. Now people can go online and read the human rights reports and see what activists are saying.

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