Internet Access as a Human Right

Unless you live in parts of rural Canada or the North where the option of broadband or high-speed isn't available, our lives are enhanced, entertained and enlightened by a click of a mouse. But around the world an estimated 80 percent of people in developing countries and 90 percent in African countries are unable to use the internet. Now a new UN report says access to the internet is a human right.



Part One of The Current

Satire

It's Thursday, June 9th.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between Vancouver and Boston last night.

Which would explain the choking.

This is the Current.

Internet as a Human Right - Frank LaRue

If you're like many Canadians, your day likely begins with checking the latest events, chatting with friends, watching the weather, listening to music, planning the night's entertainment and maybe offering a controversial opinion.
By then, it's probably time to turn off the computer and make breakfast.
We're reliant on the internet, but the United Nations seems to think it's a lot more than a convenience.

Last Friday, it issued a report suggesting access to the internet is a human right. Frank LaRue is the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. And he is the author of last week's report on the Internet. Frank LaRue joined us from Guatemala City.

We asked Industry Minister Christian Paradis to talk to us about internet access in Canada. Instead his office sent us this:

It is our opinion that rural Canadians are entitled to the exact services as those in urban Canada - without exception. That's why we launched a program in 2009 and have set a target of ensuring that 98 percent of Canadian households have access to broadband internet by the end of 2012.

Internet as a Human Right - Charlie Angus

Charlie Angus has read Frank LaRue's UN report with great interest. He's the NDP Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay, in Northern Ontario. That's a riding with a population scattered over a huge area. He's also the NDP's critic on digital issues. Charlie Angus joined us from our Ottawa studio.

Internet as a Human Right - James Harkin

James Harkin has been listening to our last two guests. He is a journalist and the author of Cyburbia: The Dangerous Idea That's Changing How We Live and Who We Are. He was in London, England. James Harkin's latest book is Niche: Why the Market No Longer Favours the Mainstream.

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