The Internet has opened a wealth of information to the world. With a Wi-Fi connection, people can consume unlimited amounts of news, research with ease and connect with people from all over the globe. Media has become such an imperative part of everyday life, and the Internet is the sole source of it in today’s digital age. But not every nation has the same access to information.
Censorship – the suppression of public communication, speech and other information – affects every country in one way or another. In an essay by Penn State University, the writer points out that there are many different ways that censorship is actually implemented: “In the United States we are used to curse words being blocked out along with nudity which is most of the censorship we experience. In Poland and Ukraine however, it is different.
Censorship in those two countries is more like prevention by official government action of the circulation of messages. In Poland and Ukraine, the censorship that they experience has more of an effect on the societies, because they are not always exposed to the whole truth.” No matter the level of censorship, it’s certainly a form of control that affects the community it restricts; either way, suppressing freedom of speech is a control tactic.
One of the most harmful ways that governments and other controlling bodies can impose restrictions is by censoring the news. Without freedom of speech, journalists can’t do their jobs correctly – they can’t be guardians of information or hold the powerful accountable. This has an immediate trickle-down effect: without the ability to stay educated about current events, citizens can’t establish informed opinions. This means that those in power aren’t ultimately liable to the public.
Ways Around Restrictive Rules
Although thankfully censorship laws aren’t the same worldwide, so even if you live in a country with strict laws, it’s still possible to get access to international news. One of the possible ways to get past restrictive laws is through a VPN service.
So, what does a VPN do? Using encryption technology, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to browse the Internet openly and anonymously. With a VPN in use, your Internet traffic travels through a private, untraceable tunnel that makes your web browsing very difficult to track, shielding you from the government’s watchful eye. Users can also spoof their location, making it appear like their browsing activity is coming from somewhere else. A VPN can empower people from all over the world by allowing them to gain access to information that might be censored in their area.
The dark web is another method to find restricted media. While it is a major destination for illegal activity, genuine news organizations like The New York Times and BBC, as well as the social network Facebook, all have legitimate presences there too. For media entities like these, the dark web is useful for reaching audiences that lack freedom of speech.
Censorship is a concerning form of control, but luckily there are smart ways to get around it. In today’s digital age, it’s possible to keep the public informed even in restricted areas.