7 Replies Latest reply on Jun 14, 2011 12:17 PM by saima0684@gmail.com

    The United Nations has declared Internet access as a basic human right. What does it mean? What can it mean?


      Text of the full report is available at



      Celia Balbin

        • basic human right...
          Bonnie Feather

          This is going to be an interesting discussion.  While I agree that communication is definitely a basic human right, I am not certain that Internet access is.  However, I see that it is becoming the choice for communication in every part of the world.


          It certainly is treated as a "right" when access is denied in countries which have no other easy way to communicate over distances.


          I can't wait to see what others write here.



          • Re: The United Nations has declared Internet access as a basic human right. What does it mean? What can it mean?

            I did not read all the article but the summary and a little bit more. When you look at censorship is it different if it is done by a country/government or it is done by a school district? In education in the US we don't call it censorship but we call it filtering to "protect" the students and the infrastructure. Do students and teachers have a "right" to "unfiltered" or "uncensored" access? In many cases in the US  government money (federal or state funds) has been used to build that access. Not all areas have that access in the US and if it is a right who should pay for it?

            • Re: The United Nations has declared Internet access as a basic human right. What does it mean? What can it mean?

              Celia, the idea of the Internet being a "human right" intrigues me.  My definition of human rights is the right to be free to make your own decisions and accept the consequences of those decisions if they are wrong.  In my mind, if we go down this road, then the morning newspaper is a human right.  It's a human right to have access to any and all printed or electronic materials, and that isn't realistic.  Just because some organization states that something is a human right doesn't make it so, at least in my opinion.



              • Re: The United Nations has declared Internet access as a basic human right. What does it mean? What can it mean?
                Bonnie Feather

                Here's one possibility for what it may mean...   As we get into issues like this, politics at the international level always come up.  I don't enjoy dabbling in this realm, but with our flattened and flattening world, I keep bumping up against questions which we ordinary folks didn't often have to face.  Thos questions, issues, and international activities are coming down to our level.


                I am sure it is a good thing, but most folks on the street in most countries (I think) have little stomach for it.  We are too busy feeding our families and making a living.



                • TRULY basic human right...
                  Bonnie Feather

                  We have many members in our community who live in parts of the world where basic human needs are not met for many people.  Thinking about this leads me to enumerate what comes to my mind as "basic human rights."  Among these (in no particular order) are:

                  • personal security- safety
                  • clean, safe water
                  • adequate nutrition at affordable cost obtainable locally
                  • adequate shelter
                  After the most basic needs are met, our world identifies other rights, as appropriate to human knowledge:
                  • adequate health care (vaccinations, treatment for major injuries, etc.)
                  • education


                  Health care and education depend on resources available in the location.  Here in the parts of the world where these are taken for granted, we often forget that the above listed needs are not always met, and they are necessary BEFORE technology and "current" teaching methods can be adopted.


                  Though Internet Access can be considered as a right, even here in Arizona we have communities which are so isolated geographically that they do not have electricity, running water, and certainly no Internet access.  Even with government assistance, it is technically impossible, given weather conditions and distances, to provide Internet to all areas at any cost.  How much more difficult must this be in some other areas of the world?  Given this situation, I am surprised that the United Nations has made such a declaration.  I cannot agree, based on the above reasons.


                  In our classrooms, we remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs on an individual, personal, and sometimes "cultural" level for our students.  It is too easy to forget that entire areas of the world go without the basic needs met.


                  It is my hope that discussion here in our Engage Community will remind many educators that we are not all playing on the same "field" and that we can foster understanding among us and provide resources which are useful to educators in all areas of the world- not just "high-tech" methods.


                  My personal belief is that we, in the nations where we have so many luxuries, should not forget that the playing field is not yet level and that we bear some responsibility to understand the situations of our colleagues and peers in other areas.


                  I apologize if this sounds fussy, but I am moved by the stories of our community members to make these statements.



                    • Re: TRULY basic human right...

                      Strongly agree with the thought  and  your comments on the topic. Human rights in my opinion , are those basic necessities of life which can be enjoyed by people freely regardless of cast, colour and creed and after food shelter and clothing United Nations should employ all the resources to accomplish the task of spreading edcation to all parts of world and give adequate attention towards the miseries of people all around i.e disease and health problems. Internet access is the need and necessity but not the basic one for every one.