MCO 425

Media Literacy and Censorship

The topic of discussion is around the following statement: “Media literacy requires access to all information and ideas without censorship.” NAMLE has defined media literacy as “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication.” To be truly media literate, the average person needs to be able to access the content that is out there today. The world and the technology that we use is constantly changing so it is important to always be learning and seeking out new information. In order to combat scams and misinformation, it is important to be literate. When content is freely accessible, anyone can put out his thoughts and opinions on the web no matter if it is fact-checked or even accurate. While freedom of speech is a privilege, online users must have discernment on what content they choose to consume. There is also the point of being inquisitive. Asking questions and doing research allows us to have a better understanding of the media landscape and know what to participate in and what to avoid. Someone with more knowledge or credentials has probably done the hard work to study a platform or program that looks interesting and can provide insight, but we would never know unless we took the time to do some research ourselves.

With net neutrality, the principle is that online users should be free to view the web without restrictions to the same degree as someone else in the world. As this ACLU article notes, these regulations ensure that online consumers are not hindered from accessing information by the actions of internet providers. The issue comes with censorship. Should everyone be free to access and put out content as they desire, or should there be policing and regulation of what is put in the vast media landscape? Dr. Araz Ramazan Ahmad notes that there are four major categories of media censorship: moral, government/military, political, and religious. From a moral standpoint, acts of violence and assault should not be broadcast for all to see. There are government and military documents that people without the proper clearance should not be able to access. Some world countries have a religious presence in their government and will censor information to the nation based on the standards of the main religion. On the other hand, when dealing with politics in the U.S., we have been able to see firsthand how there have been efforts on both sides of the aisle to suppress information that is in the public’s best interest. Just from these examples, there is evidence that censorship should be practiced on a case-by-case basis.

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