The Downfall of Freedom of Expression
“Social media and messaging apps are inaccessible for 38% of all internet users. And 33% of citizens live in countries where discussion of LGBTQ issues is off limits under threat of punishment.” (“internet.”) Censorship is a reoccurring event used by the government to limit access to social media, print media, and the overall flow of information to the public. In India, the government is seeking strategies to restrict freedom of expression, including recent attempts to limit access to the internet and the freedom of Indian television (The Editorial Board.) In addition, the government bans and censors’ books like, Harry Potter, Where the Sidewalk Ends, How to Kill a Mockingbird, and even Winnie the Pooh. The government should not be as strict when censoring information because it puts restraints of their freedom, and leaves the public with unanswered questions regarding their society.
“According to Freedom House, out of the estimated 3.2 billion internet users, a staggering 60% live in countries where citizens have been arrested for voicing their opinion on political, social and religious issues.” (“internet.”) Government censorship is found all around us, possibly more than you realize. Take the book, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury for example. This novel exemplifies government censorship because throughout the story, the protagonist, Guy Montag, battles with his society to enhance the diversity presented in it. While doing this he realizes that the government has brainwashed his society and anyone who doesn’t follow certain norms given by the government, is in danger. The sad reality of this is that it is presented in today’s society as well.
Firstly, you might say that the government needs to censor things because certain Information should not be open to the public. However, it can even be argued that government censorship is violating the first amendment of the United States, which is “…everyone residing in the United States the right to hear all sides of every issue and to make their own judgments about those issues without government interference or limitations.” (“censorship”.) This amendment “allows individuals to speak, publish, read and view what they wish, worship (or not worship) as they wish, associate with whomever they choose, and gather together to ask the government to make changes in the law or to correct the wrongs in society.” (“censorship”.) An example of government censorship violating the first amendment is the banning of books in schools. Take the book And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Henry Cole for instance. “And Tango Makes Three is based on the true story of two male penguins raising a chick in the Central Park Zoo.” (“LGBTQ.”) This children’s book, because of the diversity presented, was even ordered off bookshelves entirely in one of north Carolina’s biggest school districts. This relates to first amendment intrusion because it violates the ability for individuals to publish or read information. This information regarding the LGBTQ community is often being hidden from children and just proves that government censorship is real and is affecting our society, our first amendment, and in this case, our next generation.
In addition, the government is also censoring things that dont need to be censored. However, there is some good news! While at the Republican National Convention you don’t have to stress about an angry protester harming you “...with lumber, a hatchet, chains, gas masks or even a "super soaker" water gun.” (“Banned.”) On the contrary, while you can rest reassured you won’t get soaked by a water gun, there is no guarantee you’ll be safe from a real gun. That’s correct, the setting of this political event (Tampa and Charlotte) allows legal possession of a real bullet-filled gun within a 1.7-mile area surrounding the event but not possession of an eventful summertime toy. (Cox Media Group National Content Desk.) This proves how government censorship has gone too far with censoring things from the public that don’t need to be censored, especially when there are more harmful alternatives.
Overall, government censorship is a real problem. However, you can help spread the word of the negative side of government censorship and how often it is found in todays’ society. Furthermore, by not supporting businesses or any local governments for any rights that can compromise your privacy/ restrict your freedom, can also help eliminate extreme censoring. The government is presented too strict and puts too many restraints on individuals’ freedom. Seen everywhere, government censorship needs to allow citizens to express themselves in their own ways without feeling restricted ; furthermore, doesn’t need to be restricting every provocative thing presented in the media, which leave individuals feeling confused with their society.
Head, Tom. “An Illustrated History and Timeline of Censorship in the United States.” Thoughtco., Dotdash, 24 Sept. 2018, www.thoughtco.com/censorship-in-the-united-states-721221.
Board, The Editorial. “Opinion | India's Government Censorship.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Dec. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2015/08/18/opinion/indias-government-censorship.html.
“Why Countries Should Not Restrict Internet Freedom.” Fnst.org, asia.fnst.org/content/why-countries-should-not-restrict-internet-freedom.
Admin. “First Amendment and Censorship.” United for Libraries, 2 July 2018, www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorship.
“What We Do.” National Coalition Against Censorship, ncac.org/resource/lgbtq-book-bans-and-challenges.
Cox Media Group National Content Desk. “Water Guns Banned, Handguns Allowed on Streets Outside RNC.” Ajc, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1 Sept. 2016, www.ajc.com/news/national/water-guns-banned-handguns-allowed-streets-out....