Egypt has cut off almost all Internet and cell service in an attempt to disable the antigovernment protesters and their use of these communications media. Tech-savvy human rights activists in Egypt, in Tunisia and elsewhere in the Middle East, have used these electronic tools to organize protests.
The right to access the Internet and other electronic media is becoming the new human rights issue of this generation. But it is not a new human right. Freedom of opinion and expression in all media is already included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly more than 60 years ago. While the drafters of the Universal Declaration could not possibly have foreseen the explosion of new media in our age, they already included access to communications media as a basic human right.This article was originally published in The Washington Post.