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President Obama on Importance of Social Networking, Egyptian Protests

In a video uploaded to YouTube yesterday, President Barack Obama touched not only on the Egyptian protests, but on the importance of social media as a part of a universal right to free speech. In a question submitted to YouTube, the President was asked what he thought of the Egyptian crackdown on internet communications.

“It is very important that people have mechanisms in order to express legitimate grievances.” Referring to his State of the Union speech, the president continued saying that, “there are certain core values that we believe in as Americans that we believe are universal: freedom of speech, freedom of expression…people being able to use social networking or any other mechanisms to communicate with each other and to express their concerns.”

The endorsement of social media by the President as a part of free speech comes as reports come in that the Egyptian government has moved beyond restricting access to social sites such as Twitter and Facebook but has moved to restrict all access to the internet. The British cellphone company Vodaphone has confirmed that the Egyptian government has also instructed wireless providers to restrict service to some areas of the country.

The President concluded his remarks on the protests by calling on both the Egyptian government and the protesters to abstain from violence in the face of the current turmoil.

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