Washington, D.C. – In a press conference today, Senators Brownback and Kyl asked the State Department to “tear down the walls of Internet oppression.” While funds have been appropriated for the State Department to help people who live in oppressive regimes fight for Internet freedom, inexplicably, those funds have not been used. Both Senators praised Secretary of State Clinton for her January 21 Internet freedom speech. But, as Senator Kyl explained, “Words must be backed by actions, and actions must translate convictions into support.” The Global Internet Freedom Consortium was critical of the State Department for not being willing to stand strong in the fight for global Internet freedom.
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, head of Concerned Women for America’s think tank, the Beverly LaHaye Institute, said, “The money is there, it should be used to open up the Internet for those who are seeking personal freedom, human rights, and religious liberty.”
Crouse added, “The event on the Hill was a powerful and remarkable gathering of pro-democracy and human rights leaders who urged the State Department to tear down the Internet firewalls of the world’s oppressive regimes. Two important U.S. Senators – Brownback and Kyl – pledged to place holds on State Department nominees if FY 2010 Internet freedom funds are not awarded after a ‘grace period’ of approximately two weeks for the department to determine policies.”