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Internet Censorship, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1299

Research Paper

Introduction

In the early days of the revolution brought about by the appearance of the internet on the scene there were not many countries that had a lot of access. At the same time, the situation was worse still for the young who did not have independence yet. It was exclusive to those who could pay for usage. However, these hurdles are quickly becoming overcome in many aspects of our lives. This ranges from banking, academics, as well as the medical field. The internet has become a multifunctional media source and has built fascination within the young all over the world. This is so much so that they are in many cases, more advanced than the adults are.

Discussion

It is from realization that children now have been dubbed as the information age. However, the internet usage does not come without its challenges. Exposing everybody to that much information has its disadvantages. There are several optimists the emergence of the internet as an opportunity for the democracy as well as communal activities for participation. They view this as a chance for children to express themselves and expand their reservoir of knowledge. However, everyone knows that this is not always the truth.

On the other extreme, the pessimists lament the arrival of the internet with claims that it is the end of all childhood and innocence that currently exist. They feel that any authority and sense of traditional values will go out the window with the passing day. However, many including the media itself feel the fears of the negative influences of the internet on children. An example is a case study of Malaysia. When the government invoked a non-censorship policy, a report went out in 1998, that children where the legislation was being applied negatively (Shukor, 2006). They were using their time in cyber cafes to browse pornography and obscene sites.

At the same time, the internet has started to become a base for internet gambling and there was an incident in which a boy was caught with big gambling debts due to the use of his online gambling activities at the cyber cafes. The internet has to be compared differently to other media because its development challenges the normal conceptions thought about information rights everywhere. This is because the internet treats each right in isolation and attempts to adapt the long established understanding of the rights to a new environment filled with technology.

The development of the web challenges quite a few rights. These are the freedoms of copyright, speech, lingual, minority diversity, as well as privacy (Rasmussen, et al 2011). The experts would suggest that there is a need to address the information freedoms within a human right framework that has evolved well along with the generalization of the electronic communication and a right to communicate. As a basic right communication is a fundamental process that is quite necessary for individual expression as well as social organization. The ability to communicate in this sense therefore is the essence of being human.

Human rights are the rights that one processes therefore by the very fact of being human. The internet on the other hand is the opener to Pandora’s Box because it gives an excess to every want a person may have by the concept of communication. One can communicate with a whole community of people in uncensored conversation ever since the creation of social networking sites. However, people are not always benevolent and thus, there is a disadvantage. Each one of the above rights may benefit from them or suffer. It depends with the usage on the among the people communicating

The United States was one of the first to recognize the double-edged sword as they were among the forefront to demand internet freedom. They placed themselves on the side of openness. Later they realized this might have been a mistake as they found out an open internet came with its own problems. It calls for ground rules on the usage just to safeguard the population from wrongdoing and harm. However, the internet freedom raises tensions but all freedoms are like that in their initial phases.

However, is it what many would term as unavoidable as the benefits far exceed the costs? There are several challenges therefore that should be confronted if there is an aim to protect as well as defend an open internet. Some of the major challenges include liberty and security (Clinton, 2011). Many as having equal and opposite meaning have used these terms. That is the more that one has of one then the less there is of the other at that point. However, they are both essential to each other’s survival. If there is no security then liberty becomes fragile.

At the same time, the lack of liberty would make security oppressive. Therefore, the trick would be to find the balance, which in itself is another challenge. There should be a point whereby the internet should be given enough security to enable the freedoms to exist without fear. However, it should not be excessive which would scare people off and become counterproductive to the task. Similarly, it should not be so little as to create fears of usage by people so that it becomes exclusive to a certain group, who would be criminals and law enforcement.

The use of the internet challenges the right to freedom of expression that is safeguarded in the human rights treaties that recognized internationally. It empowers people by giving the right to expression by giving them a means to impart as well as seek the information they want. They can find anything they want due to efficient search engines at the touch of a button. However, the free flow of information has caused people to raise the call for content regulation at least to restrict the minors away from potentially harmful information.

In the United States, there was a call for state intervention in the nineties. This led to the US communication decency act in 1996 and children’s online protection act drafted in 1998 (Jorgensen, 2001). Their European counterparts have not seen a lot of government action to prevent minor access to obscene sites. However, they have lobbied the private companies like internet service providers to regulate potentially harmful content from access to the minor population. The attempts taken by the legal field to regulate the content on the internet often raises the question of the definition of the internet in terms of the public sphere. Similarly, the question of balancing the online rights of expressing oneself and the restrictions that would follow in the democratic society has no easy answer.

Conclusion

The tendency towards the private parties raises some questions from the perspective of a person. The freedom of expression is the protection of the right of an individual to voice their opinions and to receive information without interference from the state. The freedom is built on the assumption of how the public sphere is managed or how it is supervised by the state. The internet is a different story altogether. The public sphere is not managed by the state it is by private parties. This may prove to be a challenge because they may not have the same standards as practiced by regulatory bodies such as the government and they may have their separate ends to achieve.

References

Shukor. S. A. (2006). Protecting Children s Rights in the Internet: Challenges A Preliminary Study Based on the Malaysian Experience. British & Irish Law Education and Technology Association. Retrieved from http://www.bileta.ac.uk/Document%20Library/1/Protecting%20children%27s%20right%20in%20the%20internet%20-%20The%20Challenges.pdf

Rasmussen. M, William, J. M, William. F. B. (2006). The Internet and the right to communicate. Retrieved from http://www.waccglobal.org/en/20044-communication-today-old-challenges-and-new-realities/487-The-Internet-and-the-right-to-communicate.html

Clinton, H. R. (2011). Internet Rights and Wrongs: Choices & Challenges in a Networked World. George Washington University. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/02/156619.htm

Jorgensen. F. R. (2001). Internet and freedom of expression. European master degree in human rights and democratization. Raoul Walberg Institute. Retrieved from http://archive.ifla.org/faife/papers/others/ife03.pdf

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