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Archive for the ‘Censorship’ Category

Should public schools and libraries have censored internet? This is the basis of a Norwegian study. They present two sides of the story arguing that they want to protect children from harmful sites nonetheless they need a full range of sites in order to do adequate research.

“In 2008, 98% of families with children in Norway had Internet access at home” (Statistics Norway 2008).This leaves only 2% of children who do not have home Internet access however it is easily available at school or public libraries.

For some children and teenagers, the library is a source that may house information about controversial issues that they would rather not speak about in the home. Often these subjects include pregnancy and sex and relationships (Wold, 2010). Librarians feel that the internet is merely a continuation of their large assortment of books on various topics and with a censor in place it would restrict the public from getting a full range of information (Wold, 2010).

At schools, the information on the internet is restricted to sources for school projects. The question is now, does this impede on the child’s right to have an array of information? Conversely, does this help students center in on their school work and keep them from viewing “harmful” information?

Ingegerd Rydin wrote an article called ‘Children’s Television Reception’. In this article Rydin examines the children and their use of media forms.

The idealized picture of children as naive and innocent and in need of protection has concealed the fact that children use television in the same way as do most adults, or that children might be quite competent in presenting their views and thoughts about the media. (Rydin , 2003, p.77)

In this regard, I believe that the internet should not be restricted in either schools or public libraries aside from pornographic material. In order to be fully informed on a subject, whether for personal reasons or for a project one must be able to understand all points of view and if this is not possible due to censoring than it is not beneficial for the child.

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Blogging is in a way the freest form of online speech. It is an outlet expressing personal feelings, sharing news or other information. In China, where the internet is patrolled by the government bloggers must be careful not to express oppositional political views. The Chinese according to a survey done by Chinese researcher Guo, use the internet primarily for “general browsing… reading national and local news, downloading or listening to music, and sending or receiving instant messages” (2007).They also use blogging as a means of “news and information gathering, entertainment, and interpersonal relationships” (Hong & Wong, 2010)

Also in Guo’s survey,

more than 80% of the respondents considered the control of online information very or somewhat necessary and believed government (84.8%) and Internet companies (78.8%) should play the most important role on it. In terms of specific forms of content that should be controlled, about 44% of the respondents said politics” (2007).

According to Guo’s survey we can infer that the government in this case could be considered like a mass corporation in the Western countries. They will do whatever it takes to cover their own necks and will try to control the population to conform to their beliefs. If they do not or have not conformed, the public will keep their mouth shut in fear of serious repercussions. I find it interesting that the public says that the government should play the most important role on the internet. Perhaps it is because they were concerned that the information they gave the researchers would be sent to government officials or perhaps that is their true belief. However, either way it is evident the mark that the Chinese government has had on its population. In a sense this is a form of cultural branding. If you are from here you must behave THIS way and not THAT way. Through some of these stats, I see the correlation between the two.

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