In the aftermath of the Wikileaks controversy, the United States of America introduced a wide range of censorship related to the Wikileaks. Wikileaks is an international online organization that publishes news leaks, secret information and classified media from anonymous sources. Wikileaks released a lot of damaging information that portrayed the government of the United States of America in the bad light. In a bid to contain the damage, the government resorted to censorship, censoring some of the major news and internet sites that carried the Wikileaks details.
On December 1st, 2010 Amazon.com deleted Wikileaks from its servers after the senate committees on homeland security and government affairs questioned Amazon in private over their hosting of Wikileaks and other materials that had been acquired illegally. It is believed that the senate pressurized Amazon to take all materials that were related to Wikileaks down. Other efforts that were used by the Obama Administration in a bid to contain and limit the access to the cables were widely reported in the mainstream Medias. The government used intimidation by warning students pursuing careers in public service and federal employees against linking to Wikileaks materials or downloading any Wikileaks related content. The government also blocked the Wikileaks website from all federal government employees in their effort to contain the damages from the Wikileaks cables, this ban was confirmed by the Commerce Department and the library services of the United States. The ban also covered the personal computers of the federal workers.The government through the career office in the Colombia University also warned students from accessing Wikileaks content on the ground that such action would mean that they could not be trusted with confidential information in the future. The government was desperately trying to contain the damaging Wikileaks cables that exposed many government secrets; the secrets included illegal activities that the United States of America had participated in and also had damaging revelations from the wars that the United States of America was participating in.
My view is that censorship is wrong and that freedom of expression should have precedence over other needs of the government, the succeeding paragraphs argue out why it is important to allow people to express themselves on any issues that affect their lives.
The biggest effect of censorship on any form of expression is that freedom of speech is compromised. When the freedom of speech is compromised a lot of illegal activities can go on without any actions being carried out. Suppression of speech has in the past been used by a different set of people to forcefully impose ideologies on other people. The religious extremist has been known to use censorship to stifle any resistance against them. The Taliban in Afghanistan have been using censorship to coerce the people and impose their rules on them. Many dictators have also been using censorship to crush any form of rebellion against them.This censorship allows the dictators to perpetrate atrocities against the people without them being accountable. These atrocities are rarely reported as the people are afraid to talk about it as the dictators punish people who speak against them. Famous dictators that have used censorship to commit atrocities include Idi Ami of Uganda who terrorized the people of Uganda for long, people who dared to speak against him always ended up dead. Through censorship, the people under religious fundamentalists and dictators suffer a lot under bad governance as they are unable to rise up against the bad rulers. Censorship is therefore wrong as allowing it will lead to empowering tyranny over people.
Censorship also encroaches upon the freedom of free press. In the modern world, the press is among the most important tools used to bring positive change in the world. Censorship stifles the freedom of the press and this allows the ruling authorities to operate without accountability. The press if well managed is usually the people's watchdog and stifling it allows the people to suffer without anybody coming to their aid. The press has been significant in bringing many positive changes in the entire world. This has been achieved through bringing to light illegal or corrupt activities, once these corrupt activities have been brought to light measure are usually taken to correct the situation. Over the past the press has led to many revolutions that have had positive changes and censorship would only lead massive corruption and illegal activities that would on without being reported. In that case, censorship is wrong as it stifles the press, which is tool for positive change (Pillai, 2013).
Censorship has also been used to block legitimate criticism. As in the case of the government of the United States of America, it tried to suppress the access of the Wikileaks cables so that its people would not know of the atrocities it had committed. The government had been accused of killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The huge criticism that followed the aftermath of the release of the damaging cables was truly legitimate; for it is wrong for any person or government to kill innocent civilians. The government tried to prevent this criticism by hiding the information. If this information had been censored the government would have been able to continue killing civilians without any action being taken. Censoring is therefore wrong as it does not allow legitimate criticism that brings about positive change.
Censorship also breeds space for the abuse of human rights. When the freedom of expression is suppressed through censorship it allows for the abuse of human rights. Abuse of human rights can occur in many different forms. When the people lack channels of expressing their dissatisfaction the abuse of human rights can occur for a very long period of time without any positive changes taking place. Censorship allows this to occur as it suppresses the channels that are used to effect positive change in the society.If the people being abused have the channels to resist this oppression then they can have better lives, this is made possible by allowing all individuals to express their views. Censorship is wrong as it allows such oppressive measures to go on without any retrospective measures being taken.
Censorship allows stifles education and awareness of the people. When the contents of books and other forms of expression are regulated by a certain authority, it will determine what and what not gets to the people. This is quite dangerous as the authorities will determine what sort of information gets to the people. In such circumstances, only the information that suits the government will get to the people. Any other information that makes the people aware of their rights will be suppressed by the authorities. This reduces the awareness of the people making them susceptible to the control of the authorities. This is a tool that has been used by oppressive regimes to control people. This is only possible through censorship, without censorship such things would not be possible (Pillai, 2013).
Censorship has also been used to stifle oppositions. The opposition in any country plays an important role in the democracy of that country. Censorship has been the method of choice that has been used to stifle the opposition in many countries. Through censorship the government only makes information that favors its regime policies available to the people, this makes the government look good. On the hand the information about the opposition is limited and propaganda used to portray the opposition in bad light. As a result of this censorship, the government is able to engage in corruption and other illegal activities without checks by the opposition. This enables corruption to take place without any retrospective action and this has detrimental effects on the well-being of the people. A stifled opposition will not be able to keep the government in check allowing misappropriation of fund and other illegal activities. Censorship is wrong as it promotes bad governance (Pillai, 2013).
The points above illustrate the many disadvantages that result from any form of censorship. Censorship is wrong as it allows for many ills in society to go on without any retrospective action being taken. No matter what excuse or reason that might be used to allow censorship is wrong because censorship only stems out from the illegal activities.People should be allowed to express themselves on any matter without their content being filtered as it is only through freedom of speech that we can achieve an equal and just society. A just society will make all other things fall into place. My stand is that censorship is wrong and it should ban completely in the whole world.