CYBER SPACE USAGE: CENSORSHIP OR FREEDOM?

24-11-2014; UCJ FRANCIS EGBOKHARE INTER-PRESS DEBATE; SEMI-FINAL


Robert Anton Wilson once said; ‘Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any point …’

Good evening judges, fellow pressmen, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, an ambassador of the Mellanby Hall Press Organisation. And I stand here today to advocate the motion that cyber space usage should be based not on censorship but on freedom.

As we all know that nothing in this world is without a reason; here are the reasons why I strongly believe cyber-space usage should not be stifled.

First and foremost, censorship kills creativity. It is to creativity what lynching is to justice. The incontrovertible truth is that man cannot reach his full competence when there is no full independence; people cannot attain their ultimate capacity if there is no ultimate liberty. Internet censorship is a glass ceiling that truncates the dreams and aspirations of men.

In addition, censorship can easily be exploited by the government just as we saw in Iran and Moldova [2009], Tunisia [2010] and Egypt [2011]. It will only cast us into an Orwellian dispensation where there is no democracy, there is no freedom or justice or equity. What we have rather is rule of fear and the government by only a set of persons – the Big Brothers. Only information that favours the rulers will get to the people, and in fact, only thoughts that support the government will cross people’s minds. Internet censorship is thus nothing but the enthronement of ‘the thought police’…the enhancement of tyranny …and the empowerment of evil.

Furthermore, I tell you, if censorship were embraced; websites such as Wiki-leaks and Sahara-Reporters would have been shut up and shut down long ago, depriving the masses of the bitter truth about the political elites. If censorship were embraced, persons like Kay Bello and OjoAfrica’ Aderemi would have been sent off Facebook for ‘corrupting’ people’s mind with reality. If it were embraced, our UCJ President may be in jail now for all we know or the Union may be banned for having radical posts on ucjui.com …

Verily, George Bernard Shaw was right when he asserted that the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.

It is true the words of Terence that ‘too much liberty corrupts us all’, but then with censorship, we will not have liberty at all. As power tends to corrupt absolutely, it follows thus that the right to censor will always be stretched to its absurd limits.

If it is allowed, then I fear the day when you will ask Google a question only for the approbation of the Ministry of Information to be sought before the process comes to fruition.

I wish to leave you with the words of Clare Boothe Luce: Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but, unlike charity, it should end there.

04:51

*What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist ~Salman Rushdie.

*Pontius Pilate was the first great censor and Jesus Christ the first great victim of censorship ~ Ben Lindsey.

*Censorship of ideas or images or words is wrong ~ Richard King.

*Who will check the checker?

REJOINDER

Responsibility is the price of freedom’; these words of Elbert Hubbard are in response to the claim of my opponents that no one has privacy or ‘personal space’ on cyber space… and that cyber space promotes the spread of pornography and addiction. Thus, if you’re seeking internet freedom, seek it with maturity and responsibility.

They also say that censorship is not the total ban of freedom but a ‘balance of freedom’. I say, let there be total freedom, as any attempt to cut short freedom will only leave us with free doom. Besides, the question remains, who will censor the censurer? Who will check the checker?

Ladies and gentlemen, beheading a child because he has headache, no matter the clime or space, will always be preposterous – we at Mellanby Hall Press Organisation believe education and awareness creation will always be the better alternatives to cyber-limitation.

Thank you!

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