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Advantages and Disadvantages of Censorship in Today’s World

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Internet is the most widely used source for exchange information all over the globe. It also provides a platform in which we can express our views and talk to likeminded individuals. Moreover, it is affordable to most of the people of the world. It is gaining popularity at an amazing rate. Internet censorship controls and limits the data available on the internet. We may think internet is free and public space for free expression but it is restricted by censorship. Censorship of the internet is very a complex one as it can work in some cases but in others, mostly it is harmful to the society. I.e. it can protect from child pornography but it can also suppress ideas, information and communication. The Censorship is controlled by the Government. The Government may abuse this right and delete and restrict free speech. Moreover, they may silence who are threat to them. I strongly believe that censorship is against freedom of speech and world would be better off without it. However, there are some issues which really need restrictions. All my points are explained in the following paragraphs.

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The term censorship was used in Rome (Newth Mette) 443 BC. Since then, it has been used by the government for suppressing ideas of people or something they should not know i.e. secrets and scandals. For example during the mid-15th century in Europe at the time of the invention of the printing machine, the need of censorship increased. Some books were banned because church thought that these materials and their ideology were dangerous. One of the victims of banned author was Galileo Galilei, who was famous astronomer, physicist, and engineer. Nowadays censorship of the internet is used in same way. Internet provides platform where people share their opinion and free speech but main issue with censorship is that it is against freedom of speech” there are those who believe that if they think it or feel it, then they have the right to express it, fact or opinion, however the spirit moves them. They have a point: It’s called freedom of speech”. A good example of this would have to be when Verizon – one of the largest wireless carriers in US decide to reject request from NARAL Pro-choice America. NARAL request was to send message to Verizon customers who are willingly participate receiving message. Text message has become tool for people and organization to share opinions that means Verizon has control over such powerful tool. After this incident was published in news and articles, Verizon was subject of criticism. Even after exposure from media, they decided not to change decision and enjoys restriction over freedom of speech. Another issue worth mentioning was when NSI (Network solution Inc.) , popular domain name registrars and gatekeepers, suspended and removed website of Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. Because NSI thought that they are going to publish controversial material against Islam. Although only contain available on website was a picture of Koran, which later was removed along with website when NSI received complaint that the content violate terms. All this incidents proves that it is hard to express opinions and thoughts with so many restrictions, and censorship is against freedom of speech.

Censorship has evolved through time and took many forms. When first television was invented restrictions were too strict for example certain body parts of female and male should be exposed too much. Though over time it became less strict and some violence and female with short clothes were allowed. According to John Palfrey, internet has gone through three stage and passing from fourth stages right now. First stage was open space, during 1960 to 2000 internet free of any censorship and states didn’t decided to put any restriction. As internet was considered as a separate space. But during 2000 to 2005, state decided to pay attention for regulation of internet activity and started to manage and block content in different ways. Afterwards, things became escalated from blocking or restricting to controlling. States started to control and monitored people using licensing and identity requirements to go online. China is infamous for censorship. OpenNet Initiative (ONI) a multidisciplinary team at the University of Toronto, and Cambridge, Harvard, and Oxford universities. ONI sent team to 41 countries, they travel to various countries and tried to access 1000 websites related to human rights, activism and pornography. Result was concerning as in China most of these websites were filtered. Another issue ONI noted that there was no filtration before election in Kyrgyzstan but when election was near websites of opposition newspaper were regularly taken down. Which proves that censorship is use to manipulate people thoughts. How does citizen of china affected by censorship explained in following paragraphs with statistical data.

There has been debate that internet should be completely censored by the Government like China. There is specific government which is assigned just to filtered and block websites which Government think people should not know. In China between 2000 and 2007 80% urban citizen believed that Internet should control by the Government, this rate increase by 5% in 2007. Which shows that most of citizens of China are comfortable with idea that their Internet is censor by the Government. However, in my opinion they are victims of networked authoritarianism, a term described by Mackinnon. It means in a networked authoritarian state (China and several former Soviet republics) Government controls all the Internet activity and media. In this countries, Government monitored conversations and when sometimes someone use social media to call out for injustice, Government address that problems and may change some of policies. In a sense citizens feels they are being heard and thinks Internet or mobiles access are protecting their freedom of speech. But when someone protest against system, they are jailed or much worse. Everything controls by the ruling party and citizens are being manipulated by censorship. In case of china, people who supports Internet restriction may not be aware of Internet censorship. They might believe they have full access of internet and own decision. In a way they are completely isolated from rest of the world not knowing that Government has manipulated their perception. This examples are dark side of censorship, which can affect whole world. For example, ruler of networked authoritarian states has ideology of controlling whole world. Nobody would stop them as they are control of everything. This can cause another world war with nuclear weapons and basically end of human kind. My suggestion is people should have their opinions without any censorship would create peaceful world.

Some people argue that internet has played significant role in crime rate of nations. They believed young people who plays video games and watch violence on TV are prone to violence. But in my opinion it does not affect individuals. To prove my point, according to paper by Erwin Bramana Karnadi, there is no casual relationship between censorship and crime rate of nation. It is very difficult to identified which contain is obscene as some information are quite useful for young people but due to Government restriction over internet it is hard to acquire. For example, Twitter policies regarding sexual material caused to remove post related to condom, which is very useful for young people.

However, there are some issues which are need to restricted, beause they have deep impact on society. For example, child pornography. The abuse of children for pornographic purposes is a serious victim logical, criminological and sociological problem of today. The U.S. Supreme Court harms a child in both creation of image and circulation of image. This is the very issue requiring attention. Internet Censorship protects everyone to stop watching any type of child sexual assault.

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Overall, freedom of expression is basic human right, and as example provided in above paragraphs explained that censorship violates human right. I believe that everyone should be able to access internet without any restriction we should not let the Government dictate us. Although there are some serious issues which can not be overlooked and censorship help in those issue at some extent. Nevertheless, disadvantages of censorship outweigh benefits of censorship.

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