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Kentucky Groups Sign on to Declaration of Internet Freedom

GRAPHIC: Internet freedom
GRAPHIC: Internet freedom
July 19, 2012

WHITESBURG, Ky. - Stating the belief that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world, a Declaration of Internet Freedom has been drafted and a Kentucky group is among those signing on to it. Mimi Pickering, Community Media Initiative director with the non-profit arts and education center Appalshop, says the document consists of several principles that supporters believe should act as a foundation for what the Internet should be and how it should work.

Among them are no censorship, universal access at affordable rates, and an open network concept where people can connect and communicate, she explains.

"We want to protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission, and protect privacy and defend everyone's ability to control their own data and the devices they use."

Pickering is an award-winning filmmaker who says individuals and groups of all sizes are making major contributions to the Internet.

"We can provide content - we can make movies, music, all kinds of things - but we need the freedom to be a part of the Internet marketplace, just like Warner Brothers or a big corporation."

It is time Internet access is viewed as of equal importance to other services, Pickering says.

"We've decided it's unacceptable for the electric company to not serve rural areas. Broadband has to be perceived as that, too, as a basic utility in our lives."

Keeping the Internet as a level playing field for all users is key to economic diversification in rural Kentucky, she adds, saying broadband access plays a critical role in keeping the state's most rural areas connected.

The full Declaration is available at http://www.internetdeclaration.org.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY