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Statement: Time to Set the Facts Straight on the UN’s International Telecommunication Union



May 31, 2012

(May 31, 2012, Washington DC) Following the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing on “International Proposals to Regulate the Internet," Peter Yeo, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign, made the following statement.

“It’s perhaps striking when the Administration and House Republicans are so firmly on the same page of an issue, but when it comes to protecting freedom of expression, consensus abounds. In this, they will find a champion in the United Nations, whose International Telecommunication Union enshrines the free flow of information as a basic human right.

“Yet, as we near the December World Conference on International Telecommunications, there are many who fear global regulations restricting internet usage.  Now is the time to set the facts straight: The ITU has consistently stated that it does not seek governance over the Internet, and due to the decentralized nature of Internet infrastructure and governance, it would be a technical impossibility for one entity to do so. Rather, as Americans who intrinsically value our freedoms of speech and expression, we should be vigilant against proposals from select nations who are proponents of restriction and would seek to limit our liberties online.

“On the heels of his first election, ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun Touré, explicitly said that ‘we are not talking about ITU taking over governance,’ and since then he has consistently and publically reiterated that sentiment.  As a guardian of the fundamental right of people to communicate—also a core American value—the ITU is deserving of support.”

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About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign (BWC), an initiative of the Better World Fund, works to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. It encourages U.S. leadership to enhance the UN’s ability to carry out its invaluable international work on behalf of peace, progress, freedom, and justice. For more information, visit www.betterworldcampaign.org.