Having been a reporter and an online editor for the school newspaper, I have had to deal with a variety of obstacles, from hitting deadlines to setting up interviews.
However, the one thing that looms over my head every time I publish an article is not the anxiety of reaching a word count, but the fear that my voice will be silenced or defamed.
In our contemporary society, censorship is often viewed as the domain of oppressive totalitarian regimes; it is something so seemingly far away from the values of a democratic society—such as our own—that we do not want to believe that it could happen to us. In reality, censorship is a common facet of our media culture.
It isn’t enough that the Bill of Rights asserts the protection of free speech and press when its basic principles are not affirmed and upheld. According to the First Amendment Center, there have been 94 cases involving the First Amendment that have reached the United States Supreme Court in the past 13 years. While the U.S. is arguably one of the safest places to speak and publish freely, we are not perfect; we do not always adhere to our founding ideals.
Censorship of the media is not confined to domestic hypocrisy, however. Free speech and press still have plenty of headway to make the world over before we can call ourselves liberated. The unhindered exchange and communication of information is the natural enemy of oppression, and to censor is to deny ourselves of our inherent rights to life, liberty and happiness.
The free flow of information has been greatly facilitated by the Internet, and with this new route comes new pressures to obstruct its path. Without the ability to share this information, we cannot hope to grow as a global community.
As a reporter and editor for a news publication, it is my mission to uphold the ideals of freedom of press and speech, to showcase the good and expose the bad. Censorship is not the road to a world where “bad” things cease to exist, but only to a world where if we ignore the bad, we convince ourselves that it does not exist. However, the bad cannot be kept under wraps indefinitely.by
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