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This house believes that internet access is a human right

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This house believes that internet access is a human right

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This is a discussion on the Debatabase item titled: This house believes that internet access is a human right.Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

6 years 51 weeks ago
Melissa G's picture
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Internet shouldn't be considered a human right beacuse people can definetly live without it. This kind of media was created for information and leisure, but you can find information in books as well. We can't put this kind of little thing next to big ones, such as health and freedom. Internet doesn' make anyone smarter, but makes people more informed, a quality that - onde again - you can gain reading. Just because we live in a globalized world, doesn't mean that basic needs changed. We have to put priorities such as freedom first.

6 years 51 weeks ago
Alex Helling's picture
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That was more or less my opinion while writing this debate; the internet itself should not be a human right. Instead the human right is to have access to information and the method of accessing that information does not really matter.

However in practice this will very quickly end up making the internet a human right. A great many things are now published online so it may soon be the case that even if you lived in the British library there would not be access to a large chunk of information if you could not also access the interent.

You seem to consider the possibility of a right to be 'informed'; something that can be gained from reading. But informed about what? If the thing you wanted to be informed about was only online would that mean that you should have a right to access the interent? You cant be informed about everything through books - for example the most up to date government statistics. So the question then is do you have a right to be informed about what you want or what some librarian thinks you need to be informed about? 

6 years 51 weeks ago
Devin Marino's picture
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Internet should be

 

Just because people are capable of living without something does not mean that it is not a human right. Freedom of speech, religion, and the press are all basic human rights, yet people can survive without them. The press was also a "kind of media created for information and leisure," and it is a right included in the Bill of Rights. I think you are confusing the phrase "basic right" and "basic need." Basic needs include food, oxygen, water, and things you can't survive without. Basic rights include voting, driving, and the ability to own land. These are things that are given equally to everyone in our society, but people could live without them.

I disagree with your point that the Internet doesn't make anyone smarter, because I have taken many online classes that have done just that. However, whether or not the internet makes people smarter is irrelevant. In order to be a right, it does not have to make anyone smarter, or benefit their everyday lives at all. It just needs to be something that is allowed for everyone equally.

6 years 51 weeks ago
Alex Helling's picture
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Devin Marino wrote:

Just because people are capable of living without something does not mean that it is not a human right. Freedom of speech, religion, and the press are all basic human rights, yet people can survive without them. 

I quite agree; if all human rights were basic human needs then there would be very few human rights violations as even the most autocratic regimes want to keep (most) of their people alive!

I still prefer to go for something broader than just access to the internet as a human right for several reasons:

1, I don't like the idea that this new human right just somehow appeared a decade ago. Making it a right to information (or similar) means it is universal in the sense that it has always existed. A right to information is every bit as relevant in North Korea where many people likely have no concept of the internet as it would be in the ultra wired south.

2, Along similar lines the idea that the right might suddenly disappear if the internet becomes obsolete is somewhat disturbing. Of course we would probably consider the right transferring over to whatever the replacement is but a right to information would ensure continuity.

3, Again following the same train of thought the internet is not intrinsic to us. It is an object that we have created. Information on the other hand is something that has existed as long as we have had language.

6 years 51 weeks ago
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