by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) In what appears to be a growing dichotomy, the Internet is at once a free and open forum for expression, but at the same time is increasingly being targeted for censorship. Ultimately, it can’t be both, and if the forces of oppression get their way, it will cease to be the commercial medium of liberty it was destined to be.
That’s why advocates of freedom are decrying a recent decision by social media giant Twitter to allow countries to censor comments that may break local laws.
And in retaliation, they’re speaking out – with their silence.
Fashioned after the recent Google and Wikipedia “blackouts” protesting the Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA – which critics said would hold Internet Providers responsible for content posted by users – the Twitter activists were refusing to use the social media service for supporting the oppressive policy of censorship.
“We want to stand with people all over the world who are fighting censorship,” says Nick Espinosa, who is known for glitter bombing Newt Gingrich and organizing Occupy Wall Street-style protests, many of which were organized and coordinated using Twitter.
Now, say protesters, organizing such demonstrations in that way could be in trouble.
“It’s bringing questions to people’s minds and raising awareness that this is happening,” Espinosa said.
Twitter officials have said they have no plans to remove posts unless requested to do so by governments. But that’s a straw man argument; the fact is, the service will remove posts – enforce censorship – if “asked” to do so.
The blackout is over, but the protest isn’t, say activists – because the policy remains in effect.
For its part, Twitter http://blog.twitter.com. But the company says it is trying to expand internationally, and to do so it must adapt to “countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.” Therefore, Twitter made the decision to “reactively withhold content from users in a specific country…”. Well, you can’t pledge to the “open exchange of information” and censor at the same time.
Why? Because the fact is, only rogue governments and those which fear the free and open exchange of ideas and debate resort to such tactics as censorship. It’s one of the ways they use to maintain power and control and deny basic human rights of expression to their people.
It’s a shame that a social media service built on the back of the most innovative communication medium of our time would choose to side with tyrants instead of those who support personal liberty.
Sources for this article include: