What is Internet Censorship?
Internet censorship is the process of internet check for the content it holds and spreads. It monitors, filters, deletes, blocks or shuts down some of the websites
according to the country’s laws. At present, about 20 countries in the world use and have their own internet censorship systems. In consideration of the difference in culture and values, different countries have different standards to evaluate what is illegal and harmful to the society and its people. Different from the traditional media, internet has less rigid process of publishing and filtering. Some illegal and morally harmful information will cast negative effect on the society and even threaten the national security. Thus, many countries like China set up laws to control the spread of such information.
Internet Censorship in the World
The major information concerning internet censorship includes terrorism, racism, child protection and pornography. For the US, after 911, the country issued the Patriot Act, which includes provisions that states the need to monitor the internet. The German government tracks the internet 24 hours a day and has net bars filter information which concerns extreme language, Nazism, violence and pornography and so on. Australia has an internet filter which filters info that is “unsuited for children” and illegal.
Internet Censorship in China
The internet Censorship in China started in 1996. It filters information from several areas. First of all, the Chinese law prohibits pornography, gambling, and political extremism in media. Thus, for example, it is illegal to promote AI Qaeda, Nazism or Scientology in China. China also scans for terms related to Dalai Lama and Falun Gong on the internet for they are politically sensitive. What’s more, Facebook, youtube, twitter are blocked as well. Despite some complains form the people, the government has its own concerns and defends itself for its decisions. “Laws and regulations clearly prohibit the spread of information that contains content subverting state power, undermining national unity or infringing upon national honor and interests,” the white paper says. It wants to curb the harmful effects of illegal information on state security, public interest and children.