Recently I read that the Google search engine, along with Microsoft and Yahoo, has agreed with the Chinese government to launch a search engine with built-in censorship. With the censorship, people in China will be blocked from [reading]about other forms of government.
How can policy makers in American companies, who benefit from the freedoms of the first amendment, agree to limit these freedoms in another country? Do they believe that corporate and personal profits are more important than democracy?
Though I was disheartened to find that Google, a search engine I use everyday, agreed to censorship, I also felt uncomfortable with the repercussions of their actions. If American companies say it’s OK to deprive citizens of another country of information, how much more would it take for companies to agree to do the same in the United States?
Companies like Enron censored the truth about their profits, tobacco companies censored the truth about the harmful effects of cigarettes, and news stations only report on what Americans “need” to know, and not the whole picture.
The next time you watch a news story or read an article make sure you’re aware of the source that is providing the information. The movement towards censorship and the limiting of freedoms is no longer something that happens only to people in Communist countries.
Karyn Meshbane is a sophomore majoring in neuroscience. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.