Nowadays, Internet is commonly regarded as the most widely used source and the fastest way to exchange information and knowledge all over the world. However, the freedom and democracy on Internet, being one of its greatest beauties and drawing features, is apparently abused by the population online. Pornography and hate literature are commonly used to lure Internet surfers’ attention and to generate profits. Representing the rights of the public and the power of a country while owning and operating the Internet, the government has the absolute responsibility to censor the internet so as to protect its own citizens from harmful and false information, thus in order to prevent any possible decay of social and moral values, though the extent of Internet censorship should be carefully measured to ensure the freedom of speaking of people.
Since the invention of ARPANET in 1962 by the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Project Agency in United States, Internet has developed tremendously during the past half century with the improvement in modern technology with government sponsoring the researching program. It had formerly been made only for military and research purposes, where in 1974, the general public gets its first vague hint of how networked computers can be used in daily life as the commercial version of the ARPANET goes online. Hence it is quite obvious that without the financial investment and political support from the government, Internet, being such a new technological invention at that time would never achieve as great a success as what it has achieved by today; it is apparently wrong to say governments did not build neither did they own the Internet. As a result, being counted as partially a property of the government, Internet should absolutely under government’s control.
Besides to exchange information and knowledge and to facilitate communication, the most important role of Internet is to enrich people intellectually. This requires a clean and abundant source of information on the cyberspace that is provided to the public; it should be apparently free of indecency and obscenity that may cause any social problems, which eventually attributes to the decay of moral values. Human beings live in communities where easy access to indecency stimulates many people to adopt these lower moral values, as seemingly it is quite normal and perfectly okay to do so; the idea of “Everybody does so…” and “Everybody says so…” exerts a detrimental influence on peopleбпs minds and that is what people are libeled to believe when the exposure to indecency becomes so common.
What draws even more concerns of ours is of the children. We all know that children can easily be scarred and manipulated by all kinds of information. Parents can have some control over which books their children read as they can easily tell what the books are about; they do not have worry that their children will turn a page and be confronted with obscenities or other forms of indecency. While with the Internet, there is a whole different scenario. Anyone can ‘flick’ a page and be presented with porn, denigration, discrimination, fraud and misinformation. As parenting is not only about chaining a child to a parental censor but about creating a safe environment for children to grow up in at the same time, an uncensored Internet is apparently not a safe environment for children.
Due to the above reasons, it is my opinion that the flow of information should be filtered from anything that contradicts any of the abovementioned reasonable purposes. This includes filtering indecent expressions and obscene materials from access to the Internet. As a result, only the government has the power to take such actions so as to ensure the Internet is not over polluted by indecent garbage.
However, it is very difficult to take modest steps in this sensitive issue of Internet censorship. Some people may say that certain information on the net, which might be viewed as obscene or indecent, are actually useful and helpful to people who are mature enough. This includes those obtained from adult sites. Though young people are not ready to get access to such information that may lead to their moral decay, mature adults certainly do not encounter the same problem. However they may be banned from acquire what they need from the net due to the possible existence of government censorship.
Moreover, as community standards vary from community to community, it is not possible to find a guideline for the decisions of what is acceptable to be made upon; neither is it easy to be implemented. Furthermore, nobody is able to take full responsibility on such issues. Some people may argue that teaching children to deal with indecencies may shield them better and prepare them for the ‘real world’. And that the rights of free speak should never be violated.
Yet that does not mean that we can do nothing about the existing and possibly occurring problems on net; government censorship is still necessary at this point of time and may have to go on for a certain period of time. In order to make sure desirable results can be seen, what seems to be necessary is the corporation and communication between the government and Internet surfers. General guidelines of censorship can be discussed and decided with efforts of both parties to reach a compromise. Feedback sites and forums can be set up to serve such purposes online.
Eventually, the issue of Internet censorship is always controversial as the interests and concerns of different persons can never be the same as others; it can only be eased with internet surfers carrying out their social responsibilities. I think for government to step into the problem currently and help censor the accessibility of certain websites containing things such as adult materials is a modest measurement of control over Internet.