Frank La Rue, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression who made summer headlines when he proclaimed Internet access as a basic human right, conducted his research and delivered his conclusions with the support of organizations funded by liberal financier George Soros, The Daily Caller has learned.
La Rue’s statements on Internet freedom caused alarm among conservatives who believe “net neutrality” is a vehicle for a government takeover of the Internet.
Advocates of net neutrality, a position championed by the billionaire Soros and by the U.N., argue governments must regulate private censorship and bandwidth online to ensure it remains open and free. Soros, a philanthropist known for supporting liberal causes, has articulated his belief in the need for greater U.S. government regulation of the Internet.
While Soros is known among supporters as an advocate of pro-democracy causes, critics see the Open Society Institute — which he founded and chairs — as his instrument for funding and supporting his preferred causes.
For example, Canada’s Adbusters Media Foundation, credited for initially organizing the Occupy Wall Street protests, has benefited from the Tides Foundation, a frequent Open Society Institute grantee. Tides is organized in a fashion that typically obscures the relationship between incoming and outgoing philanthropic dollars.
At a speech in April 2011 at the Soros-funded Central European University (CEU) in Hungary, La Rue talked at length about global fact-finding missions – sponsored by Soros’s OSI and the Swedish government — on which he had embarked during 2010 to assess how unrestricted Internet access could meet citizens’ human rights needs.
His missions were the result of a decision in 2010 by the Internet Governance Forum, an international Internet policy group responsible to the U.N. Secretary General, to transform the net neutrality debate into one of human rights in order to generate further international support.