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Although the United States was founded on the tenets of freedom, the practice of maintaining liberty is met with the caveat of also balancing protection. Thus, one of the most cherished rights, the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, is also vulnerable to this desire to be limited in the interest of protection. Instead of enjoying unlimited expression, the media is often subject to censorship, a term which Media Now defines as “the formal restriction of media or speech content by government, political, or religious authorities” (Straubhaar, LaRose & Davenport, 2013, p. 89). With the emerging prominence of online communication, the more specific subset of Internet censorship has garnered widespread attention. The question looms: does censorship belong on the Internet? The textbook mentions how Internet restriction preserves childhood innocence, suggesting that some believe that censorship is an integral component for regulating societal stability. On the other hand, Don’t Break The Internet authors Lemley, Levine and Post (2011) argue the opposing point, that strictly enforced Internet censorship measures could mark the decline of the Internet. While both views are valid, this essay strongly with the latter, contending that Internet censorship is a detriment because of the vague moral lines imposed, the difficulty of their enforcement, and the idea that the responsibility for instituting ethical guidelines does not lie within the hands of the Internet as a whole, but rather in the hands of the individual. After defining censorship, the third chapter in Media Now discusses the challenges of libraries providing public Internet access, namely that content must be appropriate for all ages. The autho... ... middle of paper ... ...ed, they are still vague. This obscurity makes it difficult for restrictions to be properly enforced (e.g. offensive material may be accidentally permitted while inoffensive subjects may be unnecessarily blocked). Third, why does the Internet need censorship in the first place? What do we need protection from? This lack of freedom would inevitably inhibit creativity, confining our thoughts to the realm of what is imprecisely considered “appropriate.” The role of censorship online is a controversial topic, but is overall unwarranted, as it attempts to inject morality into something that should merit personal responsibility. In other words, we should not rely on the government to block certain ideas for us, since we have control over our own Internet usage. While certain freedoms should be limited for the sake of protection, online freedom is not one of them.

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