Following the blocking of Internet access in Syria by the faltering government there, the Internet Society has called on Syria to restore this “crucial enabler of human rights””.
As Syria’s civil war intensified and battle raged near Damascus, the Syrian government appeared to have cut off all access to the Internet in that country.
The previous time a government cut off Internet access also occurred during an uprising in an Arab state: former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak had ordered all Internet Service Providers to cut off links to the outside world. It was seen as a desperate act to silence both
criticism and coordination, as well as to hide the events in the country from the eyes of the world.
Syrian President Bashar Assad appears to be employing similar tactics to hold onto power in a country that has never known democracy.
Meanwhile, Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO, and the Internet Society Board of Trustees:
“”Emerging reports from various organizations and individuals indicate that international Internet connectivity was shut off in Syria today. The Internet is an open, global medium for communication, idea exchange, empowerment, and innovation. Access to the global Internet
is a crucial enabler of human rights.
“”As with previous actions to block Internet traffic in Egypt and Libya, the effect of cutting off Internet traffic ceasing the flow of information in and out of the country – is a serious action. It harms not only the citizens of Syria, but also Syria’s economy and society at large. The Internet Society stands with other organizations around the world in calling for Internet access to be restored with all due speed and cooperation so that vital services can continue to function and citizens won’t be further impacted.
“”First and foremost, the Internet Society joins with the rest of the world in its utmost concern about the safety and security of the Syrian people. Previous cases where such actions were deliberately taken have proven not only to be harmful, but to be ineffective. The Internet Society hopes that the volatile situation in Syria will come to a peaceful solution and that the citizens of Syria will soon be able to join the rest of the world in having their voices heard
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