Freedom of Speech vs. Censorship on the Internet

2126 Words Oct 22nd, 2008 9 Pages
Freedom of Speech Vs. Censorship:
Children on the Internet
The internet is a very controversial communication device in today’s society. If desired, one could find information on nearly any topic they choose. Censorship and free speech is a widely discussed topic when dealing with the current freedom of the internet especially when dealing with young minds. Should the internet have censored topics which would be illegal to post and/or view freely by children? Should the internet be a free-for-all arena in which anyone could do as they wish without judgment of others opinions and views imposing on their own? So far in class and in the text Gift of Fire by Sara Baase we have seen many issues dealing with Freedom of Speech and the internet.
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As a result of this and the international span of the internet, it is hard for the FCC to be an overseer of the medium. Certain controversial laws have attempted to set in place regulations that censor ethically and socially dubious materials from publication on the web. The topic that has been at the forefront of debate deals with obscene materials. This is a heated topic because the definition of obscenity is very vague and subject to interpretation. What is considered to be “obscene” can be viewed very differently depending on ones personal morals, beliefs, and values. For example, a parent who is highly religious and living in the United States may view nudity on cable television as obscene and pornographic for their child to view, while a person with the same religious beliefs living in Europe or another part of the world may just view this as art or entertainment. This is due to the difference in societal views on obscenity.
To get to the root of what is considered obscene, a test for judging obscene material was set in the case of Miller v. California. This modern test for obscenity consists of three parts: “(1) the proscribed material must depict or describe sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, (2) the conduct must be specifically described in the law, and (3) the work must,
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