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White House: Free Internet Communication is Issue Egypt Must Address

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that the need to communicate over the Internet and more broadly freedom of speech must be addressed in a substantive way by the Egyptian government going forward, whoever is in power.

He said that must be part of any "orderly transition" of government, which the U.S. has been calling for in recent days.

By transition, he said it must be a dialog about meeting grievances. "They have to address the freedoms that the people of Egypt seek," he said.

The Egyptian government has tried to restrict Internet access and cell phone service, both of which have been used to both relay information about the protests there and to help organize them.

The goal is a more democratic Egypt, Gibbs said. "The way Egypt looks and operates must change," he said, which is why there needs to be mmore open communication, on the Internet and elsewhere, he said. But he also said it
was not the U.S. role to determine exactly what that freedom looks like.

The State Department has declared free and open Internet communication a foreign policy goal and a basic human freedom.

He said it was not the U.S.'s role to determine whether or not Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak left.