Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Baer for Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor today said there’s a need to preserve a free and open Internet so that people everywhere can enjoy the benefits Internet.
Mr. Baer shared the U.S. foreign policy on internet freedom. He said the United States of America sees the rules and regulations that were developed for so-called old media, for print journalism or broadcast journalism, need to be adapted and need to be different when thinking about new media.
“And so, as a general principle, I would say that there’s really not a one-size-fits-all here. I think that one of the things that governments, companies, everybody who engages with the Internet has to reckon with it as we come to know the potential new media, the fact that it is, in many cases, unlike old media in that there’s not a single publisher, there’s many people collaborating to develop the message that goes into new media, that old styles of regulation aren’t appropriate, that they don’t work well.” -Mr. Baer
He noted that there are a number of conversations going on in a domestic context in a variety of countries around the world. he said the most important thing is for civil society to be involved, for journalists to be involved, to be discussing what the implications of various new legislation would look like.
“One of the things that we see very often is that old regulatory boards, et cetera, in an attempt to kind of bring Internet media under their control, take actions that they don’t even predict the outcomes of, so it’s not that there are necessarily any bad intentions, but there can be bad consequences if they’re not fully thought through and fully debated.” -Mr. Baer
He stressed that in terms of best practices internationally, the best practice is for there to be a free and open debate about legislation that would impact free speech, freedom of association online, and that it be developed consistent with international principles, with human rights principles, including the freedoms of expression and association and assembly, and that that debate continue and that decisions not be taken in haste.