Despite protests against a recent anti-Islamic video, it is important for democractic governments to promote an open internet
Democratic governments must not succumb to pressure to censor the internet – even when online content leads to political unrest, foreign secretary William Hague has said.
Referencing protests against an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube, Hague said while such work was "contemptible" it was important to protect free speech online.
Speaking at an international cyberspace conference in Budapest, Hungary, Hague said democratic governments needed to aspire to openness and transparency.
"Democratic governments must resist the calls to censor a wide range of content just because they or others find it offensive or objectionable," he said.
"If we go down that path, we begin to erode the hard-won rights of freedom of expression. We will always argue that it is necessary to err on the side of freedom."
He also spoke about increasing threats posed by online attacks, saying some countries were ill-equipped to combat the latest threats:
"Some countries lack the infrastructure and expertise to police their cyberspace and we need to do more to increase the capabilities of others. Cyber criminals and terrorists should have no refuge online, just as they should have no sanctuary off-line."
Hague announced that the UK was investing £2 million into a new cyber security centre offering advice to countries on how to build secure and systems and promote good governance online.
Updating your subscription status