The Threat of Censorship

1949 Words8 Pages
The Threat of Censorship

The First Amendment of the Constitution distinguishes Americans from other citizens in the world. The right to free speech, press, and religion is at the core of the Americanvalue system. As a result, when thesefreedoms are challenged people tend to react strongly. However, at times government officials and theirconstituents would argue that censorship, or other violations of Constitutionalrights, are legitimate. With the advent of new technologies, politicians createnew policies to gain control over these technologies. This attempt to exertcontrol appears in the legislation geared towards the Internet. Currently free speech thrives on theInternet. A very large variety ofopinions are expressed on theInternet from White supremacy to World Federaliststo individual soapboxes. The nature ofthe World Wide Web also allows these opinionsto reach a larger audience. This is not as easily done in other mediums,such as newspapers or books. However,when scanning the Internet many ads appear supporting free speech on theInternet. Could these ads demonstrate afear of Internet censorship? Despitethis public anxiety towards censorship, the government has reinforced thisfear. The legislative branches of thegovernment have attempted to censor the Internet, under the premise ofprotecting children, through three separate bills. These bills include the Communications Decency Act (CDA), theChild Online Protection Act (COPA) and the Children’s Internet Protection Act(CIPA). The bills were introduced oneafter the other due to the subsequent court rulings stating themunconstitutional. The continuousintroduction of Internet censorship bills and their subsequent passingdemonstrates that a large moveme...

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...n’s Internet Protection Act.” 106th Cong., 1st sess.

SRept.: 1999 http://www.ifea.net/cipa.html .

This Act attempts to censor the Internetthrough more subversive means. Rather thantargeting the providers of harmful material they target schools and libraries. The lawrequires that libraries that receive Internet funding must provide web blockerstoretain this funding. Essentially,this Act accomplishes many of the same things as the preceding Acts, but does it in a lessdirect way. However, it shares many ofthe same characteristics of as COPA.

7. FamilyResource Council Home Page. Family ResourceCouncil. 20 May 2003

http://www.frc.org.

8. Enoughis Enough. Enough is Enough 11December 2002. 20 May 2003

http://www.enough.org.

9. Hughes, DonnaRice. ProtectKids.com February 2002. 20 May 2003

http://www.protectkids.com.
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