Recently, on a blogging site, a friend’s account was configured in such a way such that any comment I made to postings on her blog, or comments to other comments, were automatically screened. Screening is when a comment is not visible to the general public until the owner of the blog gives the comment his or her blessing, and only then can the comment be seen by those viewing the blog.
I guess she didn’t like the comments I left as a reply to the blog entry.
I have a problem with censorship, be it online chat rooms, blogs, television shows, books, magazines, or whatever form of media I am currently engaged with. As an adult, I feel that I have the right to be able to say whatever I am feeling, without being censored by anyone. In fact, a lot of people have died in more than one war, to guarantee me that freedom. When I get censored, I feel like my rights are being suppressed, and that those brave men and women fought in vain.
If I say something that is factually wrong, or emotionally inconsiderate, or I am merely being an ass, then others also have the right to tell me I am wrong, preferably with some proof, or to tell me I’m being an inconsiderate ass, or whatever the other readers think of what I am saying. And I am fine with that. That is what living in a free and democratic country is all about.
What does offend me is when my comments are censored, and no one is given the chance to publicly tell me I’m being an ass, or I’m wrong because I didn’t know about some piece of information that proves me wrong. Or even more offensive, having my comments simply deleted, because the owner of the blog, or the moderator of the chat room, or whomever is in control of the site I am posting to, decides arbitrarily that my comment offends them in some way.
Freedom of speech means freedom to be offensive. It also mean the freedom to be wrong. In either case, censorship takes away my rights, and the rights of others, and I will always be strongly against adults of any society being censored.
It seems that there was a problem with my friend’s blog, and somehow those who were supposed to have unfettered access didn’t, and those who were supposed to be blocked / censored weren’t. The problem got corrected and everything is well again. The sentiments above are still valid, even though this particular incident was accidental and not actually a case of censorship.