Have you ever been forbidden of speaking out of your mind? How did you feel about it? Freedom of speech is a concept we all know well. Living in America allows us to speak our minds and express ourselves without fear of censorship. With the power of the Internet and social networks, we can simply log on to any site and bash how bad the government is doing, or setup a protest with a simple Facebook fan page. However, there are some countries around the world where something as big as the Internet is being placed under censorship and government control. Even after years of technological advance, these residents are still not allowed to use the Internet or social networks. They are censored by the governments, kings, and presidents; every post and blog is looked at. Every site they visit is first reviewed, they have to watch out what they write and become responsible for it.
One of the article that I read on WSJ was titled Thailand Tightens Web’s Leash by James Hookway; he talked about the Thailand’s control on social media sites such as Youtube, Facebook or Twitter. King Bhumbihol is not allowing people to post defamatory comments regarding the monarchy and if found, they charge with a crime. Even websites in Thailand are responsible for their content. Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who is webmaster, was arrested for being too slow to delete antiroyal messages at her web form (less than 20 minutes) . And if she is convicted, she will be put in jail for 20 years. This is happening not only in Thailand, but also other countries like China and Vietnam. China itself censors search results from Google. Forbidding social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Google are not only effect on the users, but also effect on the economy and the investors. Global companies are now starting to take into account a country’s policy on internet censorship because they feel that as the result of this, their profits and ability to expand maybe affected.
Those governments look at sites like Facebook as a way for media to go against them. Much of the world witnessed the power of social media against government in Egypt. These governments fear many more of these protests will happen and they are uneasy and worried about it, so they keep protecting themselves by forbidding freedom of speech.
Do you think we are going to see more revolutions like what happened Egypt in the near future? Should global companies in these countries or even our government get involved?
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