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Human Rights 14 November 2012

Internet and Human Rights: The Challenge of Empowered Communities

Shirin Ebadi reminds us of the power of ideas and shows how the free flow of information can give hope to people in their fight for a better life. Her enlightening and inspiring reflections also make it clear, if need there was, how central the Internet is in empowering people to claim their basic rights. Human Rights and the Internet are inexorably linked – they are two sides of the same coin and, consequently, the challenges and opportunities related to this issue cannot be considered irrespective of one another.

From its beginnings in the early 1970s to its massive worldwide expansion in the 1990s and 2000s, the Internet has evolved from a research project to a central communication, social and economic hub for more than two billion people. The Internet has driven innovation and economic growth. It has driven the process of globalization, from trade to communication and information and it has spread democratic values.

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