Internet Pornography Censorship vs Free Speech

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The Internet is a worldwide network of computers and databases that has evolved rapidly in recent years. Tremendous amounts of information are transmitted and are fairly easy to obtain. Although in the past the information available was for the most part educational and business oriented, in recent years it has become much more diverse and questions have been raised as to the appropriateness of the content being viewed and consumed. Another issue is whether or not the government should take an active role in censoring it, especially when it comes to pornography, or cyberporn, as it is more commonly referred to when it is displayed on the Internet. Should cyberporn be censored? If so, who is responsible, parents or the government? Is Internet censorship the solution, or a violation of the first amendment? The citizens of a democracy must make these kinds of decisions while simultaneously maintaining freedom and responsibility on the Internet. BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM Pornography on the Internet and the ease at which it can be accessed has been a very controversial issue, especially in the last ten years. The Internet was largely unregulated until 1996 when the Communication Decency Act, a portion of the Telecommunications act, was proposed. The Communication Decency Act, or the CDA, made it illegal to make or solicit any image or message that was “obscene” or “indecent”. (Wekesser 106), But how do we define terms with an ambiguity such as these. The Court in Miller-constructed the modern definition of “obscene”: The basic guidelines of the trier of fact must be must be: (a) whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient... ... middle of paper ... ... a democracy must achieve a happy medium. I agree that much of the cyberporn that is attainable is inappropriate, especially when it involves children in even a remotely sexual manner. However, censorship is not the answer. We must find a way to practice freedom of expression while maintaining decency and assuming responsibility, as individuals, for our children. Bibliography: Works Cited Elmer-Dewitt, Philip (1995) “On A Screen Near You: Cyberporn.” Time, July 1995 Ford, Marrin, Esposito, Witmeyer & Gleser, Can Congress Censor The Internet? L.L.P., 1996 Simon, Glenn E. (1998), “Cyberporn and censorship: constitutional barriers to preventing access to Internet pornography by minors.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, v88 n3 p1015-1048. Wekesser, Carol. (1997). Pornography: opposing viewpoints. California: Greenhaven Press, Inc.

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