The Comparison of The United States, China, and North Korea of Censorship Essay Example
“Censorship pours cold water on creativity” (Lui). The bottom line is that every country censors. Every country and everybody thinks that there should be censorship to some point. The problem is… where do we draw the line? According to the Webster dictionary, censorship means “to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable.” But what is considered objectionable? Who makes the call? And to the benefit of whom is each call made? The censorship of information can cause major negative effects on mass societies as seen in the United States, China, and North Korea.
The United States is a free country but whether we know it or not, we are censored and controlled too. We have rights of speech but can we really say anything freely? The constitution protects our rights of speech through the first amendment - freedom of speech, but then they censor language that is crude. They make radio cuts, delete scenes, bleep out words, blur images or use various other cuts to get rid of images or language. People may appreciate not having to hear the crude language, but shouldn’t the rights of the first amendment protect the rights of those using that language? It does. The rights of those people using the language are completely protected, but with this, we almost go backward in the rules of censorship.
Most people would say that it is okay to censor things for yourself individually or for your children as long as you’re not trying to censor it from everyone else, but in this situation, it works in reverse. The country censors things from societies as a whole but individuals are allowed to say whatever they want to an extent. We have our freedoms of speech to express our opinions, thoughts, and ideas. The language we use is up to us and what we decide to say on our own. However, if people are saying too extreme of discriminatory or threatening things, it can result in them getting closely watched, followed, or even arrested.
Watch what you say… especially online. If I were to write something about wanting to hurt or kill the president or someone else of high governmental importance and posted it online, I would likely be a big red flag to the government and would likely have people watching me and if it got serious enough - keeping you away from those people and places near them. We can say whatever we want, but our actions and words always have consequences. The truth is that you have freedom here but things are censored for the safety of the country.
As we look around the world, each country censors differently. One highly censored country is China. In the article How is Internet Censorship Affecting Chinese Culture, it says “Internet censorship in China is among the most extensive in the world” (Lui). Throughout China, they have blocked pretty much all outside information and social media. Things such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google, Facebook, The New York Times, Wikipedia, and many other websites or news sources have been blocked in China and replaced with Chinese websites that do basically the same thing but they are highly censored and completely cut off from the outside world and all internet access.
Even before the internet came about, and the censorship thereof it, China censored and disposed of information in other ways. More than 2,000 years ago, they would burn books and have live burials of scholars because they wanted so badly to get rid of information. They especially disposed of any information that was contradictory to the government and eventually after many burnings and burials, the official philosophy of government was instilled - legalism.
In today’s world, China hires professional censor’s that are working around the clock. They have special key words and red flags that they look for and block. Governmentally or politically sensitive content is especially censored. Something as seemingly innocent as a picture of an empty chair can be blocked because of the meaning behind the picture. Li Yuan stated it like this, “Staying on the safe side of the government censors is a matter of life and death” (Yuan). Being against the censorship or on the wrong side of it can end you up in a lot of trouble. China is much more censored than America but there are countries much more censored.
North Korea is so isolated from the world - the people don’t even realize there is another world out there. Everything is kept from them from before they’re even born so they think everything in their little world is great and they don’t realize that anything about it is bad or wrong. Any information or news they get is publicly broadcasted - billboards, radios, public television, etc... If you have zero access to information or internet except for what the government hands to you, they can hide or lie about anything they want and you won’t even know. Any lies they choose to tell you just become your knowledge and become what you think and believe.
In one article, the author talked about how “loyalty is drilled into North Koreans daily, and the willingness to die for their country if need be” (Felden). North Korean citizens have such a deep love and respect for their leader Kim Jong Un. From the second they are born to the second they die, they are taught to love the leader with all of their heart. They are taught that he is responsible for everything they have and that they should be so very grateful for all he has done for them. While in reality, he is the uttermost worst person in their lives and he makes their lives terrible, but as far as they know, he may as well be a god.
So what if citizens do get information and see a glimpse of truth about the outside world they didn’t know existed? What can they do? In an article about bypassing censorship in media, the author stated, “no one dares openly speak back, and that keeps the leadership in place” (Felden). There are illegal radios that people have spread throughout North Korea to try and give people information but if you do anything against the government, your family will be thrown into a concentration camp. Some people may be able to find out information about the government, their country, or the outside world, but how are they going to do anything about it? They really can’t. North Korea has censored and brainwashed its citizens so much, they don't even think about the possibility of there being a better way of life out there and even if they do know about it, there is next to no way for them to escape and get to it.
As demonstrated in the societies and governments of the U.S., China, and North Korea, censorship is the control or deletion of information from a group of people usually for the common good but not always. Censorship can be good if really used for the benefit or the common good of the people. And now again I ask… when is it no longer good? When are we harming society instead of helping it? Where do we draw the line?