November 28, 2011

The Internet is a global public good that should be accessible to all and respectful of the rights of others, said an influential Jesuit magazine.

With repressive regimes restricting access to information and communications, democratic governments should work to guarantee access to the Internet and adopt general principles to ensure network use respects universal human rights, said an editorial in La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit journal reviewed by the Vatican before publication.

"What the law permits or prohibits offline must also be the case online," said the editorial released Nov. 17.

The "only widespread international consensus" on online material to be censored regards child pornography and cyberterrorism, the article said.

The Jesuit journal said that with individuals abusing the freedom of expression, with companies potentially exploiting computer users for financial gain and repressive regimes blocking information from their citizens, the world needs a Charter of Human Rights for the Internet.