[IRP] Outcomes of call on right to access/right to the Internet.

parminder parminder
Wed Dec 8 20:02:58 EET 2010

Lisa Horner wrote:
> A quick aside ? I have really serious concerns about including a right 
> to the Internet at this stage, or at least making it a central 
> component of the Charter.  Our objectives are to apply existing 
> international standards to the Internet as progressively as possible, 
> and declaring a right to the Internet goes beyond that.  I don?t think 
> it?s a strategic thing to do at this stage if we want to build allies 
> in the international human rights legal and advocacy community, 
> amongst quite a large number of governments and in the private 
> sector.  We?ve already had harsh criticism on these fronts, and I 
> really don?t want us to fall at the first hurdle ? dismissed as being 
> not credible ? when what we have in our Charter is so important and 
> has the potential to build a strong and broad alliance between human 
> rights defenders.  That?s not to say I don?t understand the arguments 
> for including it...I feel I understand a lot more than I did before 
> thanks to the discussions we?ve been having.  But at the moment we?re 
> quite a small and unrepresentative group....I feel we?re at the cusp 
> of changing that and are doing something incredibly useful and 
> important here, but really don?t want us to shoot ourselves in the 
> foot at this stage.


I think I am repeating but let me make the case again. I cannot see how 
we can speak of rights on the Internet without a right to the Internet. 
I think it is politically meaningless, and logically fails to measure to 
conception of rights.

What does it mean to say, I am not sure if you have a right to the 
Internet, but you have, say, a right to association over the Internet?

I did earlier give the example of how it would be like saying the LGBT 
community has a right to association, without being willing to admit a 
right to freedom of sexual orientation. The above is similarly 
meaningless, and politically empty.

IMHO, I cannot take any such set of Internet rights to qualify to be 
rights. This would be a misuse of the terminology of rights to express 
some non-universal (club good) privileges.

In any case all the opposition to such a umbrella right to the Internet 
that you speak of, in my understanding, will equally be applicable to a 
right to access the Internet. So either way we will have to reckon with 
this opposition/ reservations. Why dont we do by at least being 
internally logical and politically correct and inclusive. parminder

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