09.15.20

Gardner Takes Stand for Internet Freedom Around the World with FIGHT Censorship Act

Legislation will specifically counter China’s censorship of the internet

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, today introduced the Free the Internet around the Globe to Hack Tyranny and Censorship Act (FIGHT Censorship Act), which would establish a clear U.S. policy on internet freedom, require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to communicate that policy around the world, and establish an internet freedom task force. The bill would also require the Secretary of State to make annual designations of countries that are deemed not to have sufficient internet freedom, authorize a grant program to fight global censorship, and create a new Stop the CCP Initiative Fund to counter censorship by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

report from Freedom House listed China as the “worst abuser of internet freedom” for the fourth year in a row. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, there were numerous and well-documented instances of the “Great Firewall” of China suppressing the free flow of critical and medically important information about the pandemic. Countries like China also have longstanding instances of human rights abuses and particularly target religious and ethnic minorities—in some cases, those abuses are furthered through restricting access to the internet and aggressive censorship regimes.

“The internet is one of the most transformative technological developments of the 20th century. It has changed the ways we exercise our fundamental freedoms and driven a global increase in trade, commercial activity, and innovation,” said Senator Gardner. “An international internet freedom policy will go hand-in-hand with our efforts to promote democracy and human rights around the world, and it will continue to hold bad actors like the Chinese Communist Party accountable for censorship and violations of basic human freedoms.”

The text of the FIGHT Censorship Act is available here.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.