The internet is a platform that allows people to learn, connect and to stay informed about current affairs. The UN officially declared it a human right to have internet access in 2011. A disconcerting 68% of the world still does not have access to the internet. Amongst other things, the internet has allowed for collaboration, communication and participation from across all boarders and has also allowed knowledge regarding nationalities, gender and belief systems, allows people to express their ideas and voice their opinions.
Internet access as a human right:
Information is accessible to everyone with means and people are able to gain further knowledge about whatever topic they are passionate about. Access to the web has also acted as a catalyst for economic growth in a lot of countries worldwide and has indeed contributed to the growth in employment. More than anything, access has liberated populations that are now well aware of their rights to freedom of speech. Thousands of journalists publish their thoughts and opinions across the internet platforms everyday. Communities with common goals and interests have been created and they continue to share and discuss issues that affect the world.
Political Oppression and internet access:
Much to the introduction of the internet and the right to “freedom of speech”, in other countries internet access has come with certain restrictions. North Korea, Cuba, Iran and China have blocked certain access and decide what kind of news their citizens can have access to. Back in the day it was television and radio only that allowed nations to watch and hear what went on in other countries. News broadcasters televised the effects of oppression as far as human rights were concerned. Today, it is the numerous media platforms that allow us to witness the effects of current affairs.
We could conclude that political issues in certain countries is what has led them to allow their citizens access to certain material, or we could argue saying we are not really free to voice our opinions because of restrictions that do not allow freedom of speech. If you think about it, access to the internet is really a privilege to have. Being able to say what is on your mind, having the right to access a world that is filled with plenty of knowledge, a world that could possibly empower you with privileges that many still do not have.