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UN FORUM BACKS RIGHTS TO FREE ONLINE EXPRESSION

By NBF News
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The UN main human rights for the first time said people had a right to freedom of expression on the Internet and on Thursday called on all states to protect it.

In speeches, both China and Cuba voiced reservations, but joined the consensus at the 47-member state U.N. Human Rights Council which adopted the landmark resolution presented by Sweden.

“This outcome is momentous for the Human Rights Council,” said Eileen Donahoe, ambassador for Washington which co-sponsored the motion with Brazil and Tunisia.

“It's the first ever UN resolution affirming that human rights in the digital realm must be protected.

“It must also be promoted to the same extent and with the same commitment as human rights in the physical world,” she told reporters.

China's envoy backed the motion but said people also needed to be protected from harmful Websites.

“We believe that the free flow of information on the Internet and the safe flow of information on the Internet are mutually dependent,” Xia Jingge told the assembly.

“As the Internet develops rapidly, online gambling, pornography, violence, fraud and hacking are increasing its threat to the legal rights of society and the public.”