Censorship laws violate freedom of speech and expression rights
American Library Association refers censorship as the change in access of material by the government and its representatives. It was drafted in 1776 in United States. Changes include restriction, removal, and exclusion, change of grade or age. Censorship laws have restricted media channels such as television and newspapers as well as the internet from freedom of speech. The practice is on the rise since the introduction of technological improvements. Regulations on the use of the internet from the censorship laws claim to protect the children under eighteen years and other vulnerable individuals.
Censorship laws confirm that all individuals in United States have freedom of speech and prevent all speeches that may lead to public harm, insight violence, hatred, disregard for the law of the land. Censorship laws protect media workers, politics areas among other areas where there is interaction with the public (Leatherman 1). Censorship laws protect the security of the nation and interests of the public. For instance, speeches that encourage other citizens to break the law are not allowed and those who give such speeches are persecuted and sentenced for death. Supreme Court in United States has interpreted censorship laws regarding it to the freedom of speech whose regulation has been felt on the media, radios, television among other forms of communication.
Freedom of self-expression was formed during the first amendment of United States constitution. It is among the first amendments in the bill of rights. The people who authorized this right were concerned about the freedoms given to the citizens of the United States because they were not protected in an appropriate manner. Freedom of expression was ratified on December 15, 1791. It is both a civil liberty and a civil right. Freedom of expression allows citizens in United States to freely express their ideas and sentiments. It also allows quick autonomy sense and personal freedom in the public. Freedom of speech is important because it assists in personal development and affecting dignity in individuals and assists in fulfillment of other rights of human beings.
However, these rights have been the main sector of Amnesty international works that is mostly connected with the right to freedom of religion, conscience, and thoughts. Freedom of expression is almost analogous due to the existing laws practiced in United States. Expression of harmful ideas, dangerous and indirect contrast to the safety of republic of America leads to review of the judiciary and punitive recourse. Freedom of speech is not allowed to infringe and end the happiness and lives of other people.
laws enacted upon freedom of speech were meant to guard against hate crimes, exploitation, threats, conspiracy leading towards committing harm and injury, child pornography since they are regarded as crimes and harmful to human lives. In addition, free speech and the right to express a person’s thoughts and beliefs are assaulted. Although everybody has the right to seek information, receive it and give out their ideas without fear and interference, many Individuals have faced imprisonment and harassment because of practicing their rights of freedom of expression.
Example Amnesty international has defended prisoners of conscience and campaigned on behalf of thousands of prisoners. The list includes those imprisoned because of their religion, sex, color, language, ethnic background, social and national origin, economic status, political beliefs among other status (Electronic Frontiers Australia 1). As a result, amnesty international has called for unconditional release of conscience prisoners.
Freedom of speech has been infringed by defenders of human rights such as individuals, groups, organizations who promote peaceful protection of human rights basing their expression on freedom of expression. The defenders have now become a target of abuse by security forces, armed groups, governments, religious leaders, and business interests. In extreme cases, their own families who dislike their actions and opinions also silence them.
The internet is among the areas that are mostly faced by challenges of freedom of speech. Although it is expected to act as an area of research, it is restricted on the areas it should offer information to people. Example it is restricted on pornography information and child abuse information offered to the world.
Censorship laws indicate that persons who use interactive computer services to display to people under the age of eighteen any suggestion, proposition, image and communication that is offensive as measured by contemporary standards of the community, excretory and sexual activities and organs will be fined under title 18 or imprisoned more than two years or the two. The bill restricted severely internet organizations that are owned by private individuals to freedom of speech. Although the Child Online Protection Act is protecting minors and imposing a fine on commercial users, it is violating freedom of speech and expression of human rights. The rule is blocking expressions, ideas and thoughts of internet organizations as referred in freedom of speech and expression. The government limits individual character, which is required in a democratic society. Censorship is therefore regarded as a restriction to liberty whereby the Supreme Court is making it illegal to express ones opinion and ideas through the internet (Leatherman 1).
Amnesty International reports that In Saudi Arabia, there has been a year of bloody repression after public flogging of blogger Raif Badawi because of exercising his freedom of expression. The situation has caused a deterioration of human rights. In addition, there has been an execution of forty-seven people in one day, which led to sending of shock waves across the whole region from Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. In addition to Raif, many other people practice their freedom of expression, are punished, and imprisoned (Amnesty international 1).
International cry over flogging of Raif and other conscience prisoners put them at higher risk of suffering greater punishments and ill-treatments from their peaceful actions. More defenders of human rights are getting a life sentence in prison, which is based under Saudi Arabia’s 2014 counter-terror law claiming that it is war on terror actions in Saudi Arabia. Defenders like Dr Abdulkareem al-Khoder and Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid who founded independent Saudi Civil and political rights Association (ACPRA) that is now disbanded are imprisoned. Saudi Arabia has banned independent associations dealing with human rights and has imprisoned founder members. Ministry of interior 2011 has prohibited public gatherings, peaceful demonstrations and termed all human rights organizations as unlicensed organizations.
Those who campaign against oppression and violence are silenced which leads to loss of human lives, dignity, and justice. Saudi Arabia has continued to sweep and crackdown women who participate in municipal elections as an expression of their rights. Moreover it is terminating human rights activists and conducting air bombardment campaigns in Yemen that begin commission of violating human laws internationally that include war crimes.
Leatherman, Brian. “Internet censorship and the freedom of speech”. American University.1999. Web. December 19, 1999. Source. Http://www.szasz.com/undergraduate/leathermanpaper.htm
Amnesty international. ‘A year of Bloody repression in Saudi Arabia since flogging of Raif Badawi. Web January 8, 2016. Source http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/a-year-of-bloody- repression-in-saudi-arabia-since-flogging-of-raif-badawi
Electronic Frontiers Australia. (2008). Internet censorship: law & policy around the world. Web March 28, 2002. Source. Https://www.efa.org.au/Issues/Censor/cens3.html