A conference sponsored by the United Nations in Dubai this week bears careful watching. The good news is that Thai representatives at the ITU Telecom World 2012 are well aware of the hidden agenda of the conference. The bad news is that some influential governments and self-interested groups want to use the meeting to undermine the freedom of the internet.
Russia and China will try to ram through changes that will reduce the freedom of the internet to the censorship of the lowest common denominator of the most repressive United Nations members.
We have been here before. In the 1980s, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) was hijacked by zealots who were determined to break the back of a free press. Their soothing, seductive line was that the pre-internet media was controlled by big western interests and must be reined in to provide an opportunity for "third world" media to get their message across. Journalists should be licensed by government, to ensure approved messages were heard. What they meant, of course, was that a free press threatened dictators and tyrants by making information freely available.
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