Internet Society Supports United Nations Human Rights Day Focus on Social Media

[Geneva, Switzerland – 09 December 2011] – The Internet Society welcomed the focus of today’s United Nations Human Rights Day event highlighting the transformational role of the Internet and social media applications in giving voice to people around the world. The Internet Society is a strong advocate of an open and accessible Internet, and sees the Internet as an enabler of human rights.

The influence of the Internet and social media on the ability of citizens to connect, share ideas, and join communities is undeniable. In 2011, popular movements in the Middle East and North Africa demonstrated the Internet’s power to enable individuals to exercise their fundamental rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression as well as the right to peaceful assembly and association. In this context, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also points to the role of social media in peaceful protest movements in many other cities across the globe.

These events illustrate the powerful impact of social media by generating awareness of and support for efforts of people from all walks of life seeking to bring about change, unconstrained by borders, time, and distance.

“The Internet’s influence on society has been profound,” said Lynn St. Amour, Internet Society President and CEO. “The Internet Society is committed to ensuring an open, global, and accessible Internet. It is an instrumental tool to sustain basic human aspirations for freedom and social development.”

The Internet Society is deeply concerned about increased attempts by certain governments in many regions of the world to control their citizens’ access and use of the Internet. Often such actions are taken without regard to the basic principles of human rights and due process.

“The Internet is an enabler for the realization of a wide range of human rights, and the open Internet is the embodiment of freedom of expression,” said Markus Kummer, Vice President of Public Policy for the Internet Society. “In 2012, we plan to continue our efforts in this important policy area and to bring attention to the impact of the Internet on other aspects of human rights.”

For more information on the United Nations Human Rights Day 2011, visit

For more information on the Internet Society and human rights, visit

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society is the world’s trusted independent source of leadership for Internet policy, technology standards, and future development. Based on its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society works with its members and Chapters around the world to promote the continued evolution and growth of the open Internet through dialog among companies, governments, and other organizations around the world. For more information, see:

Media Contact: Wende Cover,, +1-703-439-2773

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isoc member since 1995

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