It’s Time for a Magna Carta for the Web – by Dunja Mijatović

While Al Gore may have invented the Internet, most people today are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the spawning of an idea, posed by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee, which was to give birth to what we call the World Wide Web. Bully for him. Good for us.

Berners-Lee, always outspoken, is now peddling the notion that the Web is in serious trouble of losing its soul, which in this case means its openness, to government and commercial interests. It’s time for a Magna Carta for Web users and the Web itself.

I couldn’t agree more.

Our challenge is to beat back the dangers posed to the Web by big government and big business. Both are insidious and have the power to retard its development. They have the power to turn the Web into hundreds, maybe thousands, of little fiefdoms that would destroy the inherent brilliance of Berners-Lee’s idea—an open and neutral platform for the free flow of information.

Reasonable people can debate the level of safeguarding, local and international, that is needed for the Web – but within reason, of course. Berners-Lee recognizes that. But under no circumstances should the Web become “a series of national silos,” as he was quoted as saying in The Guardian.

I agree, too.

As OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media it is my primary objective to ensure an environment in which free media and free expression can flourish – across international boundaries. And regardless of what technology we use to disseminate the content. A Magna Carta for the Web is a step in the right direction.

About Dunja Mijatović

Dunja Mijatović is the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

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