Let Freedom Ring…For Social Media
Posted by Mary Fletcher Jones
Today, I will be traveling with my son and the 6th grade classes of Shrevewood Elementary School to Philadelphia, where the documents of freedom of our country were drafted and signed by our founding fathers.
I will reflect as I visit the historical sites on the hard-won rights we enjoy in the USA, which include the freedom of speech. Because of that right, we can access social media. But not all people can.
YouTube is blocked in China, Iran, Libya, Tunisia, and Turkmenistan. It has been banned in the past by many more countries. Individual videos of a political nature have been censored, including in Great Britain and Russia.
Just try to imagine something like that happening in America. It’s unfathomable, isn’t it?
Now consider Twitter. It’s banned in China (China blocks everything), as well as the UAE, Iran, Pakistan, Libya, Uganda, Cameroon, and Egypt. Imagine taking your life in your hands because you went on Twitter.
Facebook is also banned in many countries, and Germany has considered placing certain restrictions on its use. Facebook is banned in Syria, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and many other countries.
In the USA, we take the right to blog for granted. Imagine having to register your blog with the government, which would dictate what you could and could not write. It’s unimaginable for us. It happens now, in Saudi Arabia.
I often think about how George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, all of whom were great writers, would use Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and YouTube. My interns and I even made a video joking about it.
But all joking aside, censorship is a serious issue. I’m sure our founding fathers would have been excellent content creators. And if they lived now, they would have fiercely protected our freedom of speech now, as they did then.
I’m grateful to them, and I’m hopeful one day all countries will enjoy the same freedoms.