Like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the Internet is now a human right. So decreed none other than the United Nations. It is the inalienable right of all the earth’s six billion humans to search, find and share information, ideas and YouTube cats. Such were the contents of a report submitted to the Human Rights Council by the UN’s Special Rapporteur. And what, you ask, is a Rapporteur? Well, ask no more. “Rapporteur (derived from French) is used in international and European legal and political contexts to refer to a person appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue or a situation.” And in some cases there are shadow rapporteurs, who are not really shadows, they are actually underlings. But we digress.
According to the previously mentioned report, the Internet represents a seismic shift in media, even more than radio, television and the grapevine – which is where true information is shared. Prince may have thought that the Internet was over, but around the world it is practically the only form of independent media. It’s the truth teller, the catalyst for knowledge exchange and change, and the way for anyone with money to shop around the clock. Above all, the Internet is an exceptional form of expression – did someone say, Internet Exceptionalism? Worldwide, over two billion people use the Internet and the rest are most likely their parents and offspring. As such, the UN wants us all to be guardians of this sacred medium that gives equal billing to queens, dancing babies and Steve Jobs. And yes, like other human rights, it is currently not equally guaranteed to all.
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