NPR logo Clinton: Dictators Will Pay A Price If They Try To Shut Off The Web


Clinton: Dictators Will Pay A Price If They Try To Shut Off The Web

Earlier today, we previewed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's address on Internet freedom, which she delivered this hour at George Washington University in Washington.

Coming in the wake of revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, which relied in part on the power of the Internet to spread the word about what was happening, and following the attempts by those nations and others to block their people from the Web, her comments stake out U.S. policy on a key issue. Her message: Nations need to be open to the Web, not closed.

"We believe that governments who have erected barriers to internet freedom — whether they're technical filters or censorship regimes or attacks on those who exercise their rights to expression and assembly online — will eventually findthemselves boxed in," Clinton said.

"They'll face a dictator's dilemma, and have to choose between letting the walls fall or paying the price to keep them standing, which means both doubling down on a losing hand by resorting to greater oppression, and enduring the escalating opportunity cost of missing out on the ideas that have been blocked.

"Instead, I urge countries everywhere to join us in a bet we have made — a bet that an open Internet will lead to stronger, more prosperous countries."

Here, if you'd like to read it, is her "as prepared for delivery" text: