Censorship

Censorship is a subject which concerns me quite a lot and a subject which is in the media at the moment, for various reasons. However, my concerns about censorship tend to be quite different to those of the majority (or, at least, what appears to be the majority from my perspective.)

A lot of people get upset when people with racially controversial opinions have their platforms taken away or their books cancelled. People feel similarly about the critics of the transgender community who are not given the chance to say what they want to say. People claim that some of those with left wing ideologies have gone so far as to be threatening people’s freedom of speech.

I do agree that this is an issue – to an extent. On the one hand, there are people who are keen to be offended on behalf of a minority and so then call something offensive and harmful, even though it might actually be quite positive. A good example of this would be the recent censorship of To Kill a Mockingbird (one of my favourite books.) And examples like these need to be stopped. On the other hand, refusing to give a platform to speakers who directly attack individuals in the audience (on personal grounds) seems quite fair. Then there are complicated middle grounds, such as what to do with statues of famous figures of US history who were slave owners. Removing them would be to forget and deny the tragedies of the past, whereas keeping them in place would be to honour negative figures who may not deserve to be honoured.

But, while these are all issues which need to be thought about and discussed, I think the biggest censorship threats are actually much larger. In America, for example, there’s the risk to net neutrality and, the rumblings of government censorship in the UK which have been on and off for a few years.  Without net neutrality, what is seen on the internet will be decided by those with the most money (which is very alarming) and the idea of the UK government enforcing internet censorship seems like a slippery slope towards the kinds of things they have in certain parts of Asia. People need to be able to share their ideas and it worries me that the voices of the rich and powerful could one day drown out all other perspectives entirely. I hope it will never happen.

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