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In the modern globalized world, new types of mass media have revolutionized communication between people and the freedom of speech. Internet users can post any information they want with little exception on their sites, YouTube pages, and social networks. The amount of available information today is larger than any time before. This situation leads to controversial results. People are free to express their opinions and feelings about any current events, but their voices are muted by the abundance of other information. The means of censorship have evolved with the mass media. Sites can ban their users for offensive behavior or edit and delete any inappropriate facts. The purpose of this paper is to analyze five articles about modern means of censorship.
In his article Internet Censorship neither by Government nor by Media, Jossey writes about the importance of online political communication during the elections and the new level of freedom provided by the Internet. The results of the 2016 presidential elections have changed all views on the efficient methods of persuading voters. The traditional advertising of a candidate has become insufficient in the world of social networking sites. People want to communicate directly with their candidates.
Such services as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube help politicians to get in touch with their supporters. People are more ready to believe posts in a candidate’s timeline than his expensive advertising campaign. Television and radio can help unknown politicians become famous, especially among the older generation. Nevertheless, social networking sites build the preferences of people more effectively.
Traditional means of censorship do not work for the new mass media. People hide their identities under anonymous masks and create numerous copies of their messages on various sites. According to Jossey, “about 87 percent of Americans use the Internet, and 74 percent use social media, the Pew Research Center recently found” (par. 16). This tremendous number of users can overturn the outcomes of any advertising campaign if the candidates address them wisely.
Freedom of speech on the Internet has its distinct drawbacks. The number of fake news nearly overflows the credible information on popular topics. The discussions on important questions boil down to personal offenses or non-productive chats. People tend to limit their freedom of speech by themselves without the help of censorship from authorities. The author claims that Internet freedom needs to be codified by Congress (Jossey par. 34). It is crucial to reduce the number of fake news and network abusers who can influence people and limit their freedom of speech. The administrators of social networking sites should be ready to answer for the deletion of any user information. The appearance of the Internet has given unparalleled means for self-expression but undermined the credibility of mass media as a whole.
Facebook suspends accounts
The article by Paul Mozur examines how Facebook has banned a Chinese Billionaire, Guo Wengui, from using its services. According to Mozur, the account of Mr. Guo has been suspended as soon as he “has recently publicized accusations of corruption against family members of top-ranking Chinese Communist Party officials” (par. 4). After the issued complaint by the billionaire, Facebook has restored his account and declared that the site had banned Mr. Guo by mistake.
Facebook has long-lasting complex relations with the Chinese government. The social networking site is officially banned in the country. Nevertheless, China has the largest internet community around the globe. Facebook has already created a tool that allows third parties to control the content of the site (Mozur par. 6). Numerous activists from China report about the banning of their activities on the site. The Internet community suspects the Chinese government of using numerous accounts to get rid of the inconvenient information on the site. Therefore, social networking sites can give the freedom of speech to billions of people only to take it away when certain facts become inconvenient for particular authorities.
Libraries Ban Books
In his article, Calvert writes about banning certain books in school libraries of Florida and other states of the U.S. (par. 3). Popular books often become victims of critics and social activists. The representatives of different religions make big scandals about seemingly obscene topics in the literature for children and adults. Nevertheless, this critique can help in the advertising of the books and lead to higher sales.
Banning presents a different issue. When a book is banned from a library, people lose access to it and cannot build their own attitudes to its content, taking into account the critique from the public. They have to believe all they are told about the book without the possibility to prove this information. Nevertheless, the lists of banned books allow evaluating the tolerance of states to particular themes. Calvert claims that “sex and sexuality, along with religion, are hot-button topics” (par. 10). Books with alleged homosexual context are banned from libraries right away. Books with supposed anti-Christian content share their fate. The US Supreme Court concludes that books cannot be banned only because librarians do not like their content (Calvert par. 23). Nevertheless, libraries will continue to exclude certain books on any account to fit in their budgets.
In his article It’s Time to Crush Campus Censorship, French writes about the limitation of students’ and professors’ freedom of speech in universities (par. 2). The educational institutes tend to spend their money on the material support of their facilities rather than on the protection of the rights of their students. The courts cannot make universities pay more attention to the developing censorship on the campuses because their expenses in legal cases concerning the freedom of speech are still inessential.
In the meantime, censorship on the campuses of universities is flourishing as never before. The radical groups will give other students an opportunity to express their opinions only when they give their approval. Freedom of speech has transformed into the right to present only the ideas that do not touch upon someone’s humanity. In other words, all problems in modern society are banned from the public discourse. The author presents a possible solution to the issue, speaking about a big penalty that the universities should pay for the violation of students’ constitutional rights (French par. 13). Therefore, only the prospects of significant expenses to universities seem to be enough to restore the freedom of speech on campuses.
In her article, Richardson writes about the ban of a pro-Trump video-clip on four television channels (par. 2). The networks CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC, refused to run the advertisement showing their five popular television personalities with the words “fake news” on the overlay. According to Richardson, “The five personalities are shown in the ad — MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Rachel Maddow, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, and CBS’ Scott Pelley — are among Mr. Trump’s most visible critics in the media” (par. 15). It is apparent that the intention of the Trump group is to answer back to the critique of the President. Nevertheless, the networks cannot risk the credibility of their materials and present their reporters as “fake news” to support the President. The Trump group has started its new campaign, including this video-clip. Therefore, the censorship by four popular networks is not enough to stop the president in his advertising campaign.
Censorship is a central theme in the modern globalized world. Social networking sites have created grounds for unprecedented freedom of speech. People can exchange their opinions and support their views with multimedia sources. Nevertheless, Internet users can limit their freedom of speech by themselves without the interference of authorities. The abundance of information available on social networking sites diminishes its credibility. The fake news appears with an increasing speed, and important discussions of vital issues quickly turn into clueless chats. Facebook controls all activities of its users and can delete or edit information that is inconvenient for particular authorities. The censorship on campuses in the universities of the U.S. by radical students leaves no place for the freedom of speech. Libraries ban books only because their content can be harmful to children. Popular television networks are able to ban presidential advertisements because of their content. All of these five examples show that new approaches should be implemented in order to protect freedom of speech in the modern, highly digitalized world.
Calvert, Clay. “How Do Libraries Get Away with Banning Books?” The Conversation. 2015, Web.
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French, David. “It’s Time to Crush Campus Censorship.” National Review. 2017, Web.
Jossey, Paul H. “Internet Censorship neither by Government nor by Media.” National Review. 2017, Web.
Mozur, Paul. “Facebook Briefly Suspends Account of Outspoken Chinese Billionaire.” The New York Times. 2017, Web.
Richardson, Valery. “Networks Accused of ‘Censorship’ for Refusing to Air Pro-Trump Ad over ‘Fake News’ Jab.” The Washington Times, 2017, Web.