Friday, July 4, 2014

Things We Take for Granted

One of the most prominent forces in the 21st century is the media. While some view the media as a medium for lies, others view it as a useful expression of our first amendment right. However, over seas in the Middle East, the Iraqi government just passed censorship of the media into law. This human rights violation cuts deeply into one of our most fundamental rights, the freedom of speech. Given the media’s outstanding ability to sway public opinion, this new law will cause serious side effects. The new law prevents publicizing anything that “may be interpreted as being against the security forces”, while it advocates statements “praising the heroic acts of security personnel.” Creating this bias in a nation with limited news sources will deepen the divide between the citizens and those in charge. Not only are news stations being targeted, the internet, a broader information source, is also being filtered. Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Skype, were entirely shut down for a period of time. Moving the people away from the outside world and other opposing opinions will place the nation into a metaphorical bubble. People will have no basis to question the government, and soon enough will transform into Lemmings (Lemmings are a breed of rodents that are famous for following a heard blindly, even if the others are jumping off a cliff). While this statement is an exaggeration, it bears a degree of truth. George Orwell, an English novelist, wrote about these dangers in his book 1984. In the book, a nation of people blindly follows a government led by the principles “War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.” In this dystopia, society is constantly fed pro government propaganda through a television screen they cannot turn off. Comparing and contrasting this society with Iraq allows one to see the importance of our freedom of speech. 

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