SHOULD ONLINE CONTENT BE CENSORED? – You’ve no doubt seen the message thousands of times “Warning – Extremely graphic video or images that may cause distress.” – or something along those lines.
The issue here is whether such content should be heavily censored or just simply removed and allow just text to aptly describe the content.
Invariably, despite the graphic warning notices, most images or video is doctored or rather pixilated so that the really gory or offensive parts are obscured to a point where only our imagination is permitted to unscramble the confusion and therefore allow us to imagine the true horrendous nature of what is being depicted.
The subject of censoring content online began the day people started connecting to it.
Of all the subjects to garner most condemnation is that of online child abuse. We think it’s safe to say that the majority of people universally feel that any form of child abuse should be eradicated. Certainly this is our view .
There are those however who feel that any Government or organisation interfering with the content on the web goes against the grain of having a free and open democratic system – that is any attempt to stifle freedom of speech or freedom of expression is a violation of their civil rights.
The world has changed dramatically, in terms of global communications, and in the last 20 years with the introduction of the internet the planet went from being segregated to a global village almost overnight.
The internet certainly has allowed humanity to grow and helped us to better understand differing cultures, religions and perceptions of how life should be our planet – indeed the internet gave us all a voice.
I’m old enough to remember when news was either delivered by television, radio or newspaper; but these pale in comparison as to the speed in which we are able to deliver information on a global scale.
Not one hour ago meebal.com published an article on an issue with the rising crime from Roma gangs and within seconds of publishing the article here in the UK it was being read by a number of people in Australia, the U.S and across many European cities – yes, that was all within minutes and clearly demonstrates the power of communication through the internet.
Not long ago we received an email from a source in Thailand who wanted to highlight the dangers of tourists renting and driving motorbikes. The issue wasn’t about being scammed, as is the usual stories emanating from Thailand but rather road fatalities.
With the help of our source we uncovered some extremely disturbing images involving road traffic accident victims in Thailand and a debate arose in meebal.com as to whether we should merely write the article giving the facts and figures or whether we should do so and include the extremely graphic images in order to drive the message home.
We decided to go with our gut instinct and publish the article to include some very disturbing images.
Read: Many Tourists Die in Thailand Every Year Because they DO NOT Wear a Helmet While Riding a Motorbike - Again, we warn you that the content is extremely graphic and should not be viewed by anyone with a sensitive nature.
Within minutes of the article going live we started to receive heavy criticism from our readers but within an hour the comments turned criticism to applause; for having the courage and conviction to reveal the true nature of the danger and by doing so driving home the points highlighted.
The article remains the most graphic we have ever published but the result is that we would publish an article of such a nature again only on the provision that it highlighted the issue that really does need a powerful graphical representation in order to get people to realise the true dangers of a particular issue.
At meebal.com our position remains one of careful approach; we simply cannot see the point in publishing graphic content simply for the sake of shocking an audience.
Regardless to our thoughts and views the subject of publishing graphic online content will continue to be debated and it’s most unlikely a common resolution will ever be found.
It could transpire, in the future, that Governments will intervene and impose legislation that restricts certain content but such will undoubtedly be viewed as an incursion to the right of freedom of speech and free expression; something that is already seen as such as Government continue to create legislation in order to control content on the internet.
The solution really comes from the publisher and the viewer in that the publisher should at all times clearly warn a viewer to the content and the viewer must therefore must make their own judgment as to whether such content is viewed.
We should after all, in an open and democratic free society, have a choice and any restrictions by Government to remove that choice can only be seen as an incursion upon a person’s civil liberties.
It is our view that we shouldn’t ask our Governments to impose restriction but rather we should each take responsibility for what we post online and indeed what we view – remember if we continue to act like children then our parents (the Government) will treat us accordingly and restrict activities in which it deems inappropriate.