The Centre for Law and Democracy today published a major Report examining the Internet from the perspective of human rights. It analyses the critical role that the Internet plays in the actualisation of fundamental human rights, particularly the right to freedom of expression, and concludes that there is a human right of access to the Internet. The Report also examines the implications of the right to freedom of expression in terms of regulation of the Internet.
“This Report provides a strong justification for a right of access to the Internet, and also examines regulatory and practical issues relating to human rights and the Internet in some detail,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy. “We believe that it provides a strong basis for framing future discussions and policy development in this field.”
The Report is not the first to conclude that there is a right of access to the Internet. Several constititions and top-level courts have also done so. However, the Report makes an important contribution by examining in some detail the practical issues this right raises globally. The Report also examines the need to rethink regulatory regimes, such as laws on defamation and copyright, in order to ensure that they adequately respect the unique nature of online speech.