Society has been changing at an increasing pace within the past decades, in terms of industrialization and technological advancement. Through this advancement, the internet has emerged as an everyday necessity for most people, and imagining life without the internet is absurd and even scary. The immense amount of functions that the internet has brought upon greatly benefits; regular citizens, professional careers, and provides people with the opportunity to communicate with anyone around the world. Additionally, social media through the internet has helped spread many messages in times of a revolution or civil war, as well as help spread helpful information to those in need, like how to approach the treatment of certain colds or diseases, as well as many other things. Although the free spread of communication between individuals is now made possible with the click of a button, the government and many persons in power find
this spread of information to have many downfalls and negative effects.
But what outcome from the internet is so negative, that it forces numerous governments in countries to censor it from its people? We will examine this question by analysing places in which censorship is occurring.
-” The Great Firewall of China”
Let’s examine what is known as “The Great Firewall of China” to further understand why internet censorship is considered in the first place. According to an article on CBS News, the most frequently banned or censored websites in China are those which contain information on democracy, Tibet, Taiwan, as well as word searches containing terms like “equality”. The result is that the government in China is attempting to control its citizens, and find the internet to be a serious threat to the security of the country. Despite the countless beneficial values that societies gain by allowing free communication and opinions through the internet, there are many governments around the world that censor content found to be threatening. The benefits of the internet should give enough reason for governments to allow its use, and actually promote it, however this is not the case in many countries.
-“Internet Censorship in Syria”
“The Great Firewall of China” is not the only case of internet censorship occurring around the world. Syria’s recent uprising has shown how social media, specifically through the internet can put more power into the citizens and allows the outside world to have several sources to examine when checking on news from Syria. Many residents in Syria created videos and communicated with the rest of the world which may have greatly helped. However, the Syrian government found the internet to be a threat, and caused the rebel’s to have too much power therefore bans and arrests were made on people accessing politically sensitive websites. The internet censorship in Syria was another government attempt at controlling its people and removing any threats to the government.
-Is this censorship good, or bad?
It is evident that governments in countries that have incorporated the act of censoring parts of the internet to the general public, like China and Syria, are using this act of censorship as a method of control over the people, and recognize the grand powers of social media as being a security threat to the nation. There are many sources against government censorship for various reasons, it goes against human rights of having freedom of opinion and, people should be recognized as the foundation of a nation therefore giving theme the fundamental right to freedom. Although censorship may be deemed immoral and wrong by many people, there are some opinions stating that censorship has in fact helped or could aid several countries. For example, social media in Syria was not banned before it already had the effect on the world and the rebels were supported in the overthrowing of Assad and his government. However, the rebels were also accompanying corrupt values while at the same time stating that those corrupt values have to be eliminated from society. If the internet were censored sooner, the rebels would have not gained as much support as quickly. Nevertheless, it is not evident that censoring the internet in an attempt to ameliorate control over the people would have helped in that situation therefore it may have been for the better that the rebels are being supported, as there is an essence of freedom involved with the internet not being censored.
In conclusion it comes down to determining whether the countries security is more important than the possible security threats the country receives by allowing the freedom to access any content on the internet. In my opinion, freedom is an important part of a nation and its development towards a sustained developed nation. The internet has many useful functions that help many individuals learn and seek the truth, and even if there are some security threats, this is something that could be handled by the government.