The U.S. plans to make unrestricted access to the Internet a top foreign-policy priority, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to announce Thursday (January 21). Mrs. Clinton sees Internet freedom as critical to America's longstanding promotion of democracy abroad, said Alec Ross, a senior adviser.
The growing role of the Internet in foreign policy became clear last year during protests in Iran after allegations of election fraud. The government tried to crack down on protesters' Internet communications, but they circumvented digital blockades to send out video and Twitter messages about violence against demonstrators.
In one new initiative, the State Department plans to offer financial support to grass-roots movements that promote Internet freedom, Ross said.
Mrs. Clinton also hopes to diminish the "honor" beatings and killings of women in the Middle East by family members who discover they are using social media on the Internet, such as Facebook or Twitter, he said.
From The Wall Street Journal
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