Tag Archives: Freedom of Speech

A comment on the title and topic of this blog

George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four"Nineteen Eighty-Four, the famous novel by George Orwell, was published in 1949 as a warning about the menaces of totalitarianism.

Recapturing the content quoting Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature:

“the novel is set in an imaginary future world that is dominated by three perpetually warring totalitarian police states. The book’s hero, Winston Smith, is a minor party functionary in one of these states. His longing for truth and decency leads him to secretly rebel against the government. Smith has a love affair with a like-minded woman, but they are both arrested by the Thought Police. The ensuing imprisonment, torture, and reeducation of Smith are intended not merely to break him physically or make him submit but to root out his independent mental existence and his spiritual dignity.”

A major theme of Nineteen Eighty-Four is censorship, which is displayed especially in the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), where photographs are retouched and history is rewritten by eliminating “unpersons” of sources in public archives. Economic figures are grossly exaggerated or invented in the telescreens to indicate an ever-growing economy.

Furthermore, the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects, classifying disapproved thoughts with the term “Thoughtcrime”.

More than sixty years after Nineteen Eighty-Four has first been published, the Internet has revolutionized fundamental rights like the “Freedom of Speech” as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the right to “Freedom of Information” as recognized by the World Summit on the Information Society.

Nevertheless, many countries like China, North Korea and Iran heavily censor the Internet. But also citizens of European countries are exposed to governments trying to regulate the Internet, often well-intentioned attempts to protect its citizens but disputable nonetheless.

In this blog I will examine Internet censorship in Europe as part of a university assignment for the subject “Internet Cultures and Governance”.


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