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Secretary Clinton: Restricting Web Feeds Revolutions, Doesn't Starve Them

"History has shown us that repression often sows the seeds for revolution down the road," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to say later today. And in what her aides are calling a major post-Tunisia, post-Egypt address on the subject of Internet freedom and repressive governments' attempts to shut down the Web, she will say that "those who clamp down on Internet freedom may be able to hold back the full impact of their people's yearnings for a while, but not forever."

"Leaders worldwide have a choice to make," Clinton will also say, according to excerpts distributed by State and passed along to us by NPR's Michele Keleman. "They can let the Internet in their countries flourish, and take the risk that the freedoms it enables will lead to a greater demand for political rights. Or they can constrict the Internet, choke the freedoms it naturally sustains — and risk losing all the economic and social benefits that come from a networked society."

And in a line that's already getting into headlines, Clinton will pledge that the U.S. will continue to work to promote Internet freedom — but caution that:

"There is no silver bullet in the struggle against Internet repression. Theres no 'app' for that."

Clinton is due to speak this noon at George Washington University.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.