The Internet should be free from censorship
TheInternet should be free from censorship
Censorshipof the internet, better known as content regulation, has become amajor social issue in various nations today. The use and access ofthe internet is now more available for a large number of usersglobally. As a result, as internet connectivity continues to increaseand spread worldwide, while legal and ethical discussions andarguments become increasingly complex. Those that advocate forinternet censorship hold that it helps to curb issues of internetindecent materials and hate/harmful speech. Conversely, opponentsview internet censorship as an upfront attack on the freedom ofspeech and hence an attack on the institutions of democraticsocieties and international laws (Isler, 92). In most cases, manygovernments use censorship tool to induce many forms of hate speechand other harmful material. However, various studies show that theinternet has had greater impacts in communication and has become apositive force for both the political and social changes.
Law,rule, regulations and policies have been established in order tocontrol and restrict harmful contents, internet access and contentposted. Although the government implements these laws and regulationsfor a worthy reasons such as fighting terrorism and childpornography, Human rights activists and champions of democracy,freedom and free speech believe that the government limits internetfreedom and free speech, which is known to violate the firstamendment (Kizza, 62). These activists urge that the protection offree speech supersede all other human concerns. However, there isneed for the freedom of speech especially when the government’sreasons for censorship may turn slippery. In this case, thegovernment can hide political censorship behind a moral facade. Forthis reason, champions of democracy and freedom of speech, as wellas, the citizens should watchful on government censorship especiallyfor political purposes (Warf, 66). Free flow of information andthoughtful use of the internet should allow citizens to takeresponsibility.
Peoplein support of the censorship laws suggest that the internet provideaccess to obscene contents and pornographic materials that can beaccessed by children. More so, it is believed that the internet hascome to point where freedom of speech is known to create potentialdanger to children. Concerned parents and religious groups hold thatchildren need to be protected from violence, sexually explicitmaterials and abuse. Although these claims hold ground, thegovernment should collaborate with the Internet Service Providers, asthey have the ability to impose restrictions on Web content withoutviolating the First Amendment rights (Bidgoli, 226). The existence offree market allows consumers to choose from a variety of internetproviders, thus any restrictions of accessing contents are stated inagreement between consumer and the provider. In this case,limitations of accessing harmful contents with the service providerwill help to protect children from harmful materials and sexualcontents.
Publicdebate about limiting the use of internet has also centered on issuesof racial hatred, terrorism and violence. In fact, considerablemeasures on the use of the internet were taken after the 9/11 attackin the United States, and for this reason, many governments sought toaddress concerns that terrorists have successfully used the internetto communicate, plan attacks, transfer funds, distribute instructionsand promote their ideas (Weimann,205). Although this concern has led to internet censorship as one ofthe countermeasures, the government should recognize that using thenet for communication has had greater impacts on the global world.
Everyday, a massive number of people across the globe use the internet tofind the information they need, as well as, communicate. Whether itis a fact for history, social media communication, finding adelicious recipe or updating the weather report, the daily use of theinternet for communication has become common and inevitable. In fact,the increasing technological advancement and the internet use andcommunication have provided a wealth of opportunities for businessesand marketing (Ryan, 123). When the internet is built up around theconcepts of openness is able to encourage electronic marketing, whichhas provided a competitive advantage for many businesses today.
Thereare various forms of harmful speech that proliferate in cyberspacethat represent the primary motivation for censorship tools. In theU.S., the result has been a concerted effort to control pornographicforms of speech and virtue threats that is harmful to the minor.Studies show that some behavioral problems displayed by children arelinked to the internet. Critics argue that crimes, teenage pregnancy,sex offences, and violence crimes among others are because of thesupposed bad influence of the internet (Sather, 110). Initiatingcensorship measures to block the internet would not be needed ifparented carefully monitored and supervising what their childrenwatch or do when they are online.
Inaddition, internet blocking should not be used as a replacement ofwhat is really needed, which is parental guidance. Therefore, McKeeet al (95) emphasizes that censorship should be the responsibility ofthe parent, and they should play a major role in educating theiryoung ones before they become teenagers, on what is right and what iswrong. A majority of parents today, are not willing to takeresponsibility for their children behavior, and thus, keep blamingeverybody else including the government. If a child watchespornography, it is not the fault of the internet, but the fault ofthe parent. Parents should, therefore, step in and play an activerole in their young one`s lives which includes overseeing what theywatch online, as well as sitting down with them and discussguidelines about appropriate and inappropriate materials (Joy, 259).The steps and strategies will ensure that their children do not findpornography in the first place.
Theoriessuggest that the more stringent the internet rule and regulation arein a country, the more impede is the development. It is evidence thatthe extreme forms of censorship are likely to hurt the social andeconomic well-being of a country. Furthermore, internet measures maynot only affect the social and economic well being, but alsoeducation performance as it has many resources to offer in education.It is possible that censorship will inadvertently affect theavailability of resources by shutting off access to certain websites.On the other hand, Kent (20) observes that although internet commerceis growing fast, it may be unaffected by censorship. Kent points outthat China and Singapore come to the forefront on internetcensorship. However, these countries are amongst the fastest growingeconomies in the world. The reasons why governments would want toexercise censorship is a matter of each country’s culture andhistory. Some may focus more on democratic value and may want to theinternet to be built on the concept of openness. Conversely, theauthoritarian regimes may attempt to control internet access, inorder to seek to manage and control political discourse.
Inmy opinion, censorship should be left in the hands of individualusers, and not the government. The end-user should be given the soleresponsibility in deciding on whether to block or filter onlinecontents for themselves. Users, if they wish, can choose from a widerange of free and inexpensive software that filter contents from theWorld Wide Web. This will help prevent unsupervised access bychildren, and will ensure that parents become more responsible.
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