U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on the annual report on internet freedom by Reporters Without Borders. The report examines worldwide freedom of expression on, or access to, the internet, and lists twelve nations as "enemies of the internet," including Iran, Syria, Cuba, Burma, China, and North Korea. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"It is indefensible but unsurprising that the world's dictatorships continue their assault on internet freedom. Reporters Without Borders' recent "enemies of the internet' report clearly shows that the regimes in Iran, Syria, Cuba, Burma, China, and North Korea not only censor the web, but aggressively target individuals who pursue freedom of expression online.
"This blatant repression is a clear indicator that these countries are not interested in democratic reform, but remain committed to tyranny. Although countries like Burma and China speak of reform and progress, they continue to monitor and control internet use, and detain people who are peacefully attempting to be heard. Cuba continues its business-as-usual approach in silencing any calls for democracy and imprisoning voices of dissent at will. It is not surprising that the Castro brothers have made the list every year since its inception.
"Freedom of expression is one of the founding principles of this country, and the U.S. should remain committed to standing up for it around the world. I commend Reporters Without Borders for their diligence in constructing this report, and urge the Obama Administration and others to press these regimes to end these flagrant human rights violations."