In the 21st century, the Internet has become a global phenomenon, fully reflecting its name as a worldwide web. State-regulated censorship on the Internet is one of the key topics of heated debates within this context. From one perspective, the contemporary paradigm of human rights emphasizes the essential nature of the freedom of speech. Preventing certain information from circulating on the world wide web may be deemed as a violation of this integral right. On the other hand, censorship often serves to eliminate the threats that persist in the digital environment, becoming a matter of society’s safety, as well as national security. This essay argues that while governmental censorship can support the well-being of the nation, it should be applied with increased caution to respect the freedom of speech.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
First Claim and Evidence: Censorship for Child Safety
Censorship on the Internet can be an effective mechanism of filtering the information that is detrimental to society, namely the children who are in the stage of forming their mindsets. The colossal of the Web is undeniable, as it permeates most spheres of human activity. However, the accessibility of the Internet has entailed a surge in potentially damaging and sensitive content. McIntyre (2018) refers to the U.K.’s experience in blocking adult and extremely violent content, which is said to have a negative effect on the mental development of children. Singh (2018) concurs, adding that without filtering, the risks of online experiences outweigh their opportunities for children’s development. This position appears valid, as certain varieties of the content may be harmful even for adults. In the case of children, exposure to adult imagery and extremist ideas may have long-term repercussions.
Second Claim and Evidence: Censorship for State and Global Security
At the same time, the risks of unfiltered information extend beyond its impact on specific individuals and communities. In fact, the Internet in its current state creates a favorable environment for the development of threats to global security. According to Meserve and Pemstein (2020), the benefits of instant communication have been abused by terrorist organizations. With the spread of anonymous message boards, it became easier for them to coordinate their activities internationally. Moreover, the development of darknet portals contributes to the growth in other illegal sectors, such as drug, human, and weapon trafficking (Tsesis, 2017). Considering the circumstances, the provided point of view is essential to the discussion. In this regard, the comparison is drawn between the Internet user inconvenience and the lives of thousands of people.
Third Claim and Evidence: Censorship and Freedom of Speech
Nevertheless, freedom of speech remains one of the integral human rights recognized by the global community. Accordingly, the pursuit of safety protocols should not interfere with it. Internet censorship usually exists in the form of blocking specific pages and resources that are said to contain harmful information. However, some governments go beyond the necessary measures, abusing such censorship policies to suppress political opposition and unfavored views (Ververis et al., 2020). As a result, such nations as China build their Great Firewalls that mostly serve to support the ruling regime (Wang et al., 2017). In this context, balance is the key to maintaining the right course of action. In other words, state security and citizen well-being should not be confused with the personal interests of the ruling elite.
Ultimately, state-regulated censorship of the Internet pursues several essential purposes. Among them, the protection of the nation and its residents from harmful information is the most important task. By censoring such data, governments disrupt illegal activities while ensuring that new generations grow in a positive environment. However, this tool is often abused for the sake of power and national control, which should be accepted. The solution to the issue lies in stronger international regulations on the Internet. It appears relevant for global organizations to develop effective policies that can be spread among all governments. In them, the line between national security and censorship abuse is to be clearly defined.
McIntyre, T. J. (2018). Internet censorship in the United Kingdom: National schemes and European norms. In L. Edwards (Ed.), Law, Policy and the Internet. Hart Publishing.
Meserve, S. A., & Pemstein, D. (2020). Terrorism and internet censorship. Journal of Peace Research, 57(6), 752–763. Web.
as little as 3 hours
Singh, R. D. (2018). Mapping online child safety in Asia and the Pacific. Asia & The Pacific Policy Studies, 5(3), 651–664. Web.
Tsesis, A. (2017). Terrorist incitement on the Internet. Fordham Law Review, 86(2). Web.
Ververis, V., Marguel, S., & Fabian, B. (2019). Cross-country comparison of internet censorship: A literature review. Policy & Internet, 12(4), 450–473. Web.
Wang, Z., Cao, Y., Qian, Z., Song, C., & Krishnamurthy, S. V. (2017). Your state is not mine: A closer look at evading stateful internet censorship. IMC ’17: Proceedings of the 2017 Internet Measurement Conference, 1(1), 114–127. Web.