Internet regulations can protect human rights: experts
July 24,2014   By:Xinhua

BEIJING, Sept. 12, 2013 -- Human rights experts from China and abroad on Thursday called for a sound environment for sustainable human rights development, saying the Internet is a double-edged sword in the process.

"The Internet is extremely important, as people from across the world can be in touch with each other and learn from each other, but the Internet can also be a danger for human rights," said Tom Zwart, director of the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research.

Zwart made the remarks at the sixth Beijing Forum on Human Rights, which opened Thursday and gathered more than 100 officials, foreign diplomats and human rights experts from the United Nations and 33 countries and regions.

"Unjustified rumors spreading over the Internet are continuing to play a role that may damage people's reputations," he added, saying that the Internet should have some regulations, and in fact many countries do have regulations for online activities.

Daniel Joyce, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales, said that creating a sound online environment is a prerequisite and a part of the broader framework for human rights protection.

Experts said that better regulation of the Internet is conducive to human rights protection.

"I think the Internet should have regulations in the same way that speech has regulations," said Kate Westgarth, former director of Chinese Affairs of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, adding that one cannot have complete freedom of speech.

"People spreading defamatory rumors on the Internet should bear the consequences, and people who encourage riots have to be controlled," she said, adding that this kind of control is also the protection of individuals.

Westgarth's thoughts were echoed by He Zhipeng, professor at the School of Law at Jilin University in northeast China's Jilin Province.

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