28 October 2008

Let Me Speak

In case you did not know, Turkey has banned Blogger. Apparently, it was unbanned recently because of missing evidence, but it is not a remote possibility that the ban be applied again.

Apparently, the issue was due to football broadcasting rights, and some bloggers who use the platform have been violating it. The interesting thing however, is not about violating broadcasting rights, but the freedom, or lack of, with regard to speech.

The Internet is a mixture of sorts. It can be an educator, and it can be an enemy. Thus, one has to wade through all sorts of information, and filter what types of information one wants to partake in.

However, what is disturbing is that some governments take it upon themselves to do the filtering. This takes us to a very important point: how valuable is free speech?

I am not advocating for unrestrained free speech here. Obviously, some types of information can cause distress and offense to a certain group of people (Remember the Danish cartoons?). However, I do think that it is not a good idea for an entity to prevent individuals from expressing themselves. I know that the expressions of some people might hurt others, but it all is a manifestation of the basic concept of push and pull.

If I make a statement, it might offend a certain group of individuals. Now, because it offends this certain group of individuals, does that mean that I need to be restrained? No. However, I would be a daft idiot if I choose to manifest my statement in front of these individuals, thereby provoking them. I can find other outlets of my statement without offending people. Freedom of speech does not entail that one has the right to insult someone else.

Of course, the debate is more to it than what I wrote here. However, as a blogger, I find it disturbing that my ability to write my thoughts down and let it be known to the world has the potential to be hindered, due to the fact that it might be offensive to some people.

Here are some sites that one might use to override blocks:

There are six billion people in the world alive today. One simply cannot satisfy them all.

(The Dutch Carillon, from my Arlington Cemetery Series)


  1. Fortunately, anything blocked these days can be unblocked easily.

    I was pleasantly surprised that none of the websites I use a lot (Wiki etc.) were blocked in Beijing, despite what had been said earlier.

  2. Zhu,

    That is indeed a good thing. Somehow, I am glad that even if some entities ban Internet freedom, there are ways to circumvent it.