O.E.C.D. Calls on Members to Defend Internet Freedoms

“PARIS — As a rising tide of digital dissent raises alarms in many capitals around the world, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday called on member countries to “promote and protect the global free flow of information” online.

The O.E.C.D. , a group of 34 developed countries, urged policy makers to support investment in digital networks and to take a light touch on regulation, saying this was essential for promoting economic growth via the Internet.

“It’s really a milestone in terms of making a statement about openness,” said Karen Kornbluh, the U.S. ambassador to the O.E.C.D. “You can’t really get the innovation you need in terms of creating jobs unless we work together to protect the openness of the Internet.”

The approval of the recommendations by the O.E.C.D. council builds on a communiqué issued at a meeting in June, when the broad outlines of the policy were drawn up. The guidelines are not binding, but are intended to work through the power of persuasion . Also, the Internet recommendations will from now on be included among the criteria for assessing candidates for membership in the O.E.C.D., which is based in Paris.

While the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and other movements have shown the potential of the Internet for organizing political protest, there has also been a backlash, with a number of governments stepping up their efforts to crack down on free speech in the digital sphere.”

More at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/technology/oecd-calls-on-members-to-defend-internet-freedoms.html

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