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Censorship in the Media (Pro)

            Since the arrival of the Internet as a popular medium to exchange information, concerns have been expressed about access to online content deemed offensive or dangerous. The absence of national borders on the Internet has an effect on the availability and proliferation of controversial information. Community standards are a local affair, and different communities have different standards. Information that in one country is illegal, such as bestiality in the United States, is legal in another, such as the Netherlands. Vice versa, neo-nazi propaganda is constitutionally protected in the United States, whereas it is illegal in the Netherlands. Digital communications has changed the paradigm, and we now live in a world where information is not restricted by physical boundaries, except for a few exceptions such as China and Saudi Arabia. On the Internet, a Dutch person can access any information on the US part of the Internet, even if that information is not legal in the Netherlands. Moreover, a US national can access any kind of information in the Netherlands that is illegal in the US. Politicians and governments sometimes see censorship laws as the solution to these problems, and several countries have implemented comprehensive systems of censorship on the Internet. Parents, schools and other entities have turned to privately manufactured Internet rating and filtering programs, with varying rates of success. The debate about online content is still very much alive, and none of the available solutions to protect against offensive content is completely satisfactory. At one extreme of the debate are civil liberty groups that see any form of censorship as a threat to freedom of speech. On the other extreme are religious leaders and community groups that want some sort of protection against offensive content on the Internet in a desperate attempt to protect the local community standards. These protections - censorships- extend into all aspects of our lives.

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