Argument Against Censorship

1325 Words 6 Pages
Throughout history censorship has followed people’s freedom of expression like a shadow. When I fled my country Ethiopia, not only as a result of censorship, but also extreme intimidation, I left my entire family behind. While others continued to write controversial statements about the government and politics, I left because I was not a fighter. Even though Ethiopia’s Constitution explicitly protects freedom of speech, in reality the government ignores it for the most part. In 2011, Reeyot Alemu, my close friend and a journalist, who founded the monthly magazine Change was arrested (“CPJ Concerned About” Par. 2). Why? They do not like what she writes, censorship. She was accused of reporting on an opposition group that was labeled “terrorist” …show more content…
According to Cohen censorship is about gaining power and control over what others believe and think (6). Parents challenge literary works because the teaching contained in the books are against their belief. On the other hand, governments hold back information from their citizens under the disguise of protecting national interest. This in turn adds more power and control over their citizens’. For example, in the U.S., according to one estimate during the past 25 years the government has classified between 7.5 to 8 billion pages of information (Bauder 236). Pete Weitzel in his article “Journalists Have a Duty to Fight Government Secrecy” points out the irony of this many classified documents by describing as “Enough information to replace all the 18 million books in the Library of Congress with shelf space to spare” (Bauder 236). This form of censorship might happen through consensus or government manipulation of certain information where the people involved are forced not to provide any …show more content…
However, there was no practical evidence indicating the effectiveness other than turning regular citizens in to suspects. For instance, according to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), between 2003 and 2006, the government issued 192, 499 National Security Letters (NSLs) which led to only one terror related conviction. Under the Patriot Act, NSLs are issued by FBI agent without a judge’s approval, to obtain personal information, including phone records, computer records, credit history and banking history (“Surveillance Under The” Par. 2). The conviction would have occurred even without the Patriot Act. Between 2003 and 2005 the government made 53 reported criminal referrals to prosecutors as a result of 143,074 NSLs out of which, 17 were money laundering, 17 related to immigration, 19 involve fraud and there were none for terrorism (“Surveillance Under The” Par. 1). The law was designed to capture terrorists and avoid any future terror acts inside the U.S., but these evidences show that it is literally violating the rights of American citizens. The law appears to be still in effect because anyone who speaks against it is labelled “unpatriotic.” It also shows that we are unable to speak against this law as a result of our self-censorship. Such practices ultimately lead to the abuse of power by

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