Free internet access should be considered a ‘moral human right’ as people unable to get online lack meaningful ways to influence the powers that shape their lives, according to a new study.
Those who are unable to get online – particularly in third world countries – may be missing out on basic rights such as freedom of expression, access to information and the freedom of assembly (to join others in expression).
As political debate increasingly takes place online citizens who do not have access to the internet may lack vital opportunities to have their say – currently some 2.3 billion people are without affordable Internet access.
New research by the University of Birmingham reveals that access to the internet could be a key way of protecting other basic human rights such as life, liberty, and freedom from torture – a means of enabling billions of people to lead ‘minimally decent lives’.
Dr. Merten Reglitz, Lecturer in Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham, has published his findings – the first study of its kind – in the Journal of Applied Philosophy.
Dr Reglitz said: ‘Internet access is no luxury, but instead a moral human right and everyone should have unmonitored and uncensored access to this global medium – provided free of charge for those unable to afford it.
‘Without such access, many people lack a meaningful way to influence and hold accountable supranational rule-makers and institutions.