Secretary Clinton spoke at the Roosevelt Institute's Four Freedoms Medals Gala Dinner, where she said:"Freedom of expression, for example, is no longer just defined by whether citizens can go to the town square, or the town hall, and criticize their government without fear of retribution. Advances in technology, from email and blogs to Twitter and text messaging, have opened up new forums for exercising free speech, and created new targets for those who would suppress the open exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Often, as we deal with these problems in the State Department now, we see that human rights defenders, civil society advocates, bloggers, and journalists are now being targeted for harassment and prosecution, even murder.
We see the continuing imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi, the recipient in absentia of the Freedom from Fear Award in 2006. We see the murders of journalists in Russia who are trying to expose the truth of criminal activity and governmental misconduct. We see Iran using arbitrary arrests to detain nearly 4,000 people for voicing or reporting complaints about the conduct of recent elections. And then we see the consequences of what happens in Venezuela or China, or elsewhere, when people believe that they are just exercising the universal right to speak and be heard.
Just weeks ago, an award-winning journalist and human rights activist was abducted and shot to death while investigating human rights violations in Chechnya. And while I welcome Russian President Medvedev's pledge to foster independent media, actions speak louder than words. Dozens of journalists have been killed in Russia in the last decade. Most of the murders are unsolved. Those responsible for such crimes should be brought to justice. And we in the United States have to stand firmly on the side of those who speak out. (Applause.)
We will continue to form partnerships with those who share our values, like the Government of the Netherlands. On Monday, the United States will take its place as a returning member of the UN Human Rights Council. When I made the decision that we would rejoin the Human Rights Council – (applause) – there were those who questioned that. How can you be part of something that is so contrary to the values that we espouse, that we wish to uphold, not only here at home but around the world? Well, we are going in to the arena. One of our priorities will be upholding universal standards for freedom of expression as we combat intolerance and discrimination everywhere it rears it head. (Applause.)
And we are reinvigorating the Global Internet Freedom Task Force as a forum for addressing challenges to internet freedom around the world, and we are urging United States media companies to take a proactive role in challenging foreign governments’ demands for censorship and surveillance of their citizens. (Applause.)
President Obama and I are committed to defending the Freedom of Expression on the new terrain of the 21st century so that, someday, people everywhere will have unencumbered access to the flow of information and the tools of expression – tools which are more abundant and more powerful today than at any time in history."