The United Nations Human Rights Council has declared that people have a right to freedom of expression on the Internet. This is the first time that the council has extended the definition of human rights into the virtual world and according to international media the resolution had nearly universal support, even from countries which censor the Internet.

The 47 member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council each voted to include freedom of expression online as a basic human right in a resolution.The resolution says that all people should be allowed to connect to and express themselves freely on the Internet.

The resolution states, “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The council also called upon all countries to ‘promote and facilitate access to the Internet.’

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