A report to the United Nations from special rapporteur Frank La Rue suggests that the Internet is a key means for individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression. The document is Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression (May 16, 2011).
The report references Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Geist chose this quote to highlight the issues covered in the report:
The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Special Rapporteur calls upon all States to ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest. In particular, the Special Rapporteur urges States to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws which permit users to be disconnected from Internet access, and to refrain from adopting such laws.
The UN recognizes democracy as one of its core values. Is global, open access to the Internet creating democracy or simply promoting it?