Internet censorship is a hot topic which has in the past few years garnered much of public attention. This act of controlling and suppressing access to information on the web has generated a heated public debate with some supporting it while others opposing. The extent of free speech on the internet varies on a country-to-country basis. In some countries, there may be little censorship of the web content while in other countries, censorship may go as far as limiting access to critical information such as new and suppressing of discussions in online forums.
The freedom of speech is enshrined in United Nations Declaration on International Human Rights. However, the use of free speech on the internet as overtly been abused. I support the fact that freedom of speech and content on the internet should be restricted to mitigate against misuse and encroachment by external powers. This is because there are various fraudulent activities on the internet such as child pornography, libel, obscenity, cyber crime and numerous criminal transactions.
Freedom of speech on the internet needs to be restricted to protect the youth who are the vulnerable population. With the introduction of the social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, 2go and many others, many people have universally abused the internet. For instance, the internet has been used to send discriminatory messages, hate speech messages with the use of obscene languages. In respect to this, I would recommend that companies providing internet services should use watchdogs gag and close accounts of people who misuse the service.
The internet has widely been used to access pornographic material, display unethical sex content. Today, the youths are actively participating in sex chat rooms thereby negatively influencing the society. Today, the youths have abused the freedom of speech on the internet to engage into immoral acts such as live sex chats, thus eroding their moral values. Since children do not spend adequate time with their parents, there is an urgent need for restriction access to certain internet sites that can cause more harm than good.
Although the freedom of speech on the internet is an absolute right of every person, there should be restriction especially when it is prone to abuse by criminals, terrorists and pedophiles. Research has shown that when there is lack of unrestricted access to the internet, it is mostly used by fraudsters for criminal activities. For instance, there are numerous cases of child trafficking, kidnapping and stealing of money from financial institutions. One of the most feared terrorist group; the Al Qaeda has frequently used the internet to send threatening messages, and relayed photos of their captives. Therefore, there is a need to restrict freedom of speech on the internet to ensure that criminal gangs are kept at bay, thus leading to a safer society.
In conclusion, I support the fact that there should be freedom of speech on the internet but with a lot of restrictions. The government and internet providing companies should take stringent measures by censoring offensive and abusive material. Although the individual right of speech should not be infringed upon, it is critical to restrict access to the internet for the purposes of safety.
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