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CIVILTA-INTERNET Nov-17-2011 (260 words) xxxi

Jesuit journal urges measure to make Internet accessible, democratic

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Internet is a global public good that should be accessible to all and respectful of the rights of others, said an influential Jesuit magazine.

With repressive regimes restricting access to information and communications, democratic governments should work to guarantee access to the Internet and adopt general principles to ensure network use respects universal human rights, said an editorial in La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit journal reviewed by the Vatican before publication.

"What the law permits or prohibits offline must also be the case online," said the editorial released Nov. 17.

The "only widespread international consensus" on online material to be censored regards child pornography and cyberterrorism, the article said.

The Jesuit journal said that with individuals abusing the freedom of expression, with companies potentially exploiting computer users for financial gain and repressive regimes blocking information from their citizens, the world needs a "Charter of Human Rights for the Internet."

The Council of Europe is holding a conference Nov. 24-25 on the Internet, human rights and freedom, the journal said. In preparation for the meeting, the European Council of Ministers drafted 10 "Internet Governance Principles" that La Civilta Cattolica said should be "included in an international treaty" protecting the Internet and access to it.

The 10 principles include protecting democracy and respect for the law on the Internet; promoting greater involvement in Internet governance, including by users; protecting the universal nature of the Internet and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity; and broadening access to the Internet and its content.


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