Should blogging sites follow Blogger and Twitter and censor their content?
Vanessa Wong, 16, Diocesan Girls' School
There are various motives behind internet censorship: to suppress political expression, stop piracy or filter out obscene materials. No matter the reason, censorship laws can easily be abused because entire websites can be shut down even if the culprits are only a minority of their users. We need to consider the consequences of censorship on society.
First, internet censorship hinders interaction between people. At present, the internet is the most efficient platform for communication on a personal, corporate and even international scale. Communications build relationships. If blogging sites are censored, messages will not be easily conveyed, thus harmony will be harder to achieve. During the Arab Spring, the people managed to topple their regimes through the connective power of social networking. On the other hand, protests in countries which censor the internet have failed to achieve anything except an increasing toll of civilian casualties.
Locally, internet censorship may not affect politics as much as economics. Small enterprises rely on the internet to conduct business. Entrepreneurs monitor market trends and consumer needs, advertise and even sell their products through social networking sites and forums.
Lastly, freedom of speech is a basic human right. Censorship is a tool used by governments to prevent people from freely expressing their views. If such voices are stifled, this will cause social disharmony.
Internet censorship causes harm to society. We should focus more on strengthening copyright laws and educating people instead of shutting our eyes and ears.
Cathy Chan, 18, CCC Kei Chi Secondary School
There has been much controversy over the censorship of internet communications. Since Twitter and Google's Blogger started censoring content posted by their users, the debate on whether other blogging sites should do the same has become heated. I believe they should.
Censorship can help provide a healthy environment for discussion. As frightening or harmful content is removed, the quality of communication will increase. Take Blogger as an example. Under the new policy, all child pornography and horrible content, like close-up pictures of gunshot wounds or accident scenes, is prohibited. As a result, the culture of blogging will become much healthier.
Censorship can prevent people taking advantage of blogs to promote illegal or dangerous activities. As the internet has become an essential communication tool, lots of gang members and criminals use it to lure teenagers to take part in illegal activities like drug trafficking and prostitution. Hence, censorship can help remove this type of illegal content.
Some may argue that a blog is very much a personal and private matter, like a diary, and therefore should not be censored. However, we must not forget that a blog is published. In other words, everyone can read it unless the blogger clicks the 'private' button. Any content that is published may influence readers, particularly youngsters. Therefore, blogging sites should consider the impact they have on society.
For the sake of bloggers and society, blogging sites should adopt censorship.