October 11, 2017

Censorship and The Importance of Citizen Journalists

I wanted to take some time and bring attention to a situation that some of my readers in the Ukraine are experiencing.  Not only do I want these readers to have access to information without censorship, but I also want this situation to be brought to the attention of all free peoples of the world.  Some may herald the times we live in as more free than ever before, and it is this semi-complacent view which drives me to bring attention to those sections of the world, near and far, which may be experiencing media censorship.

What is Media censorship?

Media censorship is the deliberate suppression of public communication or other methods of conveying information important to the public by Governments, Corporations or otherwise powerful entities and persons.

What are some methods of Media Censorship?

Editorial Censorship:  Controlling the narrative of a given message or work up to an including retroactive editing of the facts.

Discrediting the source:  This can be achieve through various means, but typically has no basis in truth for the charge levied.

Government Intervention:  This too can have a broad range, anything from directly shutting down the source, to intimidation and threats of incarceration to regulating the industry in a way that denies information harmful to the government to appear in print anywhere.

Self Censorship:  This is typically done out of fear.  If fear of reprisal, what people may think, or a deliberate desire to avoid controversy.

Now that we know a few methods of Censorship I want to bring your attention to Donbas, Ukraine and Catalonia, Spain.

Whats going on?

In the Occupied region of Donbas, Ukraine the "Ministry of Information of the Donetsk People's Republic" has devised a system in which appointed censors read all news papers before publication.  Television stations regulate their broadcasts through a controlling body, and Citizen Journalists mus be registered with the "Ministry of Communication."

In Catalonia, Spain... during a referendum to declare themselves independent from the country of Spain, government authorities raided a domain registry which shut down more than 140 domains that were supportive of independence.  We also saw how Spanish authorities clamped down on voters and poll stations.

Why is this important?

The reason I wish to bring your attention to these matters is two fold.  One, it is to remind you that governments are willing and capable of silencing both the individual and a sizeable minority.  Two, this proves just how your individual voice and reporting on things that are important to you can effect and change entire sections of the planet.

Its not enough to believe that you have free speech or a free press, you must engage it and test the truth of its exercise.  I encourage you to read more about these two situations.


How can you make a difference?

First and probably most important, never cease speaking the truth.  While self censorship is probably the most common form of censorship, change starts with an individuals voice. Speak in public squares, write your blogs, write letters to the editor, post to social media and always check your facts.

Second, research, research research!  If you rely on only one source or even just popular sources of information you are only getting parts of the story, potentially altered or controlled narratives or outright falsified information.  Check the information you read and research against as many sources as possible.  Reading and research is almost as important as writing.

Third, Keep writing.  Practice, find your pace.  Find your own style.  Be fearless in your writing.  The question you ask yourself shouldn't be "Should I write this?" it should be "What may happen if I DON'T write this?"

I hope this give you some information that was useful.  I may not be the best writer yet, but I Keep writing!!

Sic Semper Tyrannis!

 Why should you be a citizen Journalist? Click here!

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