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Clinton Global Initiative Panel Sees Technology As Democratizing Force

Access to information is a basic human right, according to a Clinton Global Initiative panel looking at the impact of digital information on social causes and government reforms.

Mobile communication is making our leaders accountable, noted discussion moderator Arianna Huffington of the The Huffington Post.

Social media helped to challenge the narrative of the Iranian government in the wake of last summer's disputed national elections, preventing the outbreak of state-sponsored retribution for dissent, said journalist Omid Memarian of the IPS News Agency.

He said the Iranian regime was compelled to show restraint due to fears that images of a violent crackdown would be sent around the world.

Technology fundamentally changes the way we deal with the government, agreed Maria Otero, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

Mobile devices help undermine election fraud, she said in pointing out that citizens can communicate events at polling places through text messages.

Also appearing on the panel, actor Ashton Kutcher announced his foundation's commitment to stop child sex trafficking from poorer nations, saying the issue has been ignored by the mainstream media.

Social media, Kutcher noted, will allow these issues to move to the forefront, pushed by the popularity of bloggers writing from the perspective of the developing world.

The Clinton Global Initiative is taking part alongside the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

The forum brings together the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other global leaders to confront the developing world's most pressing problems.

President Barack Obama will address both the UN General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative in separate events later today.

by RTT Staff Writer

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