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Free speech, privacy and censorship - Essay Example

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Free speech is the concept, which allows you to speak freely without any censorship. According to many, it has a very pivotal role to play in modern liberal democracies. Free speech leads to free flow of ideas significant to political democracy (1). Various powerful governing bodies all around the world have tried to change the thought of the public by taking route that allegedly disadvantages one side of the argument…
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Free speech, privacy and censorship
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Download file to see previous pages The advent of the Internet opened new possibilities for achieving free speech using steps that do not depend on legal measures. Pseudonymity and data havens (such as Freenet) gives rise to free speech, as the technology guarantees that material cannot be erased (censored). A Gripe Site, in theory is one of the latest forms of exercising Free Speech on the Internet.
It is worth mentioning in this regard that websites, which fall foul of government censors in other countries, are more often than not re-hosted on a server in a country with no such bindings. Fact that the United States has in many respects the least restrictive governmental policies in the world on freedom of speech, number of websites re-host their content on an American server and therefore escape censorship while remaining online to their target audience.
The Chinese government has come up with some of the most sophisticated forms of Internet censorship in order to minimize or eliminate access to information on sensitive topics such as the Tibet, Taiwan, pornography or democracy.
Censorship can be defined as the control of forms of human expression. More often than not, it is implemented by the government. The main objective of censorship is to stabilize or improve the society that the government would have control over. It is worth noting that censorship generally applicable to acts that occur in public circumstances, and most formally involves the suppression of ideas by regulating expression (3).
Moreover, discussion of censorship often includes less formal means of controlling perceptions by excluding various ideas from mass communication. Therefore, what is censored may range from particular word to entire concept but one thing for sure it is influenced by value systems.
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy came into the limelight when twelve editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper on September 30, 2005, which they said they were doing as part of a debate regarding criticism of Islam and self- censorship.
It is worth pointing in this regard that the rationale for censorship is different for various types of data censored. Religious censorship is the route by which any material objectionable to a certain faith and religion is erased. More often than not this type of censorship involves a dominant religion forcing limitations on less dominant ones. Alternatively, one religion may stop the works of another when they believe the content is not appropriate for their religion. In the same way religious groups have often sought to censor scientific facts or fictional works which they think undermine or threaten their beliefs.
Privacy can be defined as the ability of an individual or group to keep their lives and personal affairs out from public view, or to stop information about themselves from becoming known to people other than those whom they decide to give the information. There is a direct correlation between privacy and anonymity although it is often most highly valued by people who are publicly known (4). According to experts, privacy can be seen in the light of security-one in which trade-off between the interests of one group and another can become particularly visible.
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