Government Censorship and Surveillance

Return to 2013 Reader Table of Contents

 

Internet Censorship in China

In 1949, Mao Zedong claimed victory in the Chinese civil war, leading the People’s Republic of China party to power. Since then, China has grown in several respects, including the government’s control over the population. The Chinese government controls information available through the media, specifically social media, by blocking YouTube videos, censoring search engines and even banning social networking sites. China’s censorship policies are among the strictest in the world. Chinese citizens are not permitted to search the word “liberty” online, and the Chinese government even hires “guiders” who lead online chat room discussions to favor the government. By visiting this page of the New York Times, you can receive updates on the Chinese government’s censorship policies.

“Internet Censorship in China.” The New York Times. 22 March 2011. Web. 24 June 2012. <http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/international/countriesandterritories/china/internet_censorship/index.html>.

 

In North Korea, the Internet is only for a few

North Korea’s authoritarian regime strongly censors its people, denying general access to the Internet, banning cell phones and prohibiting Google maps from photographing any part of the country. Even for high-ranking officials in the country, Internet usage directed from China is extremely limited, filtered and tracked. By some estimates, North Korea is the world’s most-censored country. Especially in a time when most of us take digital resources and media for granted, author Tom Zeller Jr. believes that it is easy for us to forget that there exists a large part of the world that is left in the dark. He has full faith that North Korea can join the league of actively developing countries. He believes that North Korea’s darkness is simply the result of inappropriate priorities.

Zeller Jr., Tom. “In North Korea, the Internet is only for a few – Technology & Media – International Herald Tribune.” The New York Times. 22 October 2006. Web. 24 June 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/technology/22iht-won.3251122.html>.

 

Mind Your Tweets: The CIA Social Networking Surveillance System

When one typically thinks of government censorship or control, he or she likely imagines an oppressed country with a population confined by primitive technologies. But in this article, author Tom Burghardt analyzes the cyber control that the United States government imposes on its people. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) checks blogs, Twitter updates, information passed through cell phones and even book reviews. Should this form of surveillance be allowed in a “free country” like the United States of America? This article does a good job of sufficiently addressing issues that are not often discussed, such as domestic censorship and surveillance in democratic countries.

Burghardt, Tom. “Mind Your Tweets: The CIA Social Networking Surveillance System.” Wikileaks. 24 October 2009. Web. 13 July 2012. <http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Mind_Your_Tweets:_The_CIA_Social_Networking_Surveillance_System>.

 

Internet censorship could damage India’s democracy

Are there times when censorship is acceptable? This article examines a form of censorship in India that is well recognized and discussed openly – censorship of religious ideas. India has a long history of religious conflict, so the government now censors religious statements in order to promote peace throughout the country. The initiative has been largely successful. However, in India’s democratic climate, this censorship goes against the freedom of speech that many Indians spent decades fighting for. Media sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter are fearful of disobeying the Indian government, lest they lose a large market in Asia. Nevertheless, they, along with many of the Indian people, are angry with the government’s censorship policies.

Saini, Angela. “Internet censorship could damage India’s democracy.” The Guardian. 7 February 2012. Web. 13 July 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/07/internet-censorship-india-democracy>.

 

Press censorship on the rise in Latin America

Although most Latin American governments are now democratic, the region is suffering under the worst wave of press censorship since the dictatorships of the 1970s. The repression of press is still prevalent. Elected presidents are using their powers to silence private media sources for various reasons, such as when their administrations steal money or votes. Perhaps more traumatic for the long-term health of the region are the increasing numbers of Latin American journalists who self-censor themselves to avoid being tracked by the government. Author Andres Oppenheimer believes that the repression of press will eventually be reversed in Latin America, but he also fears that journalists will continue to self-censor themselves and no longer have the ability to report a story as it truly is.

Oppenheimer, Andres. “Press censorship on the rise in Latin America.” The Seattle Times. 8 January 2012. Web. 20 July 2012. <http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2017179499_oppenheimer09.html>.

Leave a Reply