Thursday, May 3, 2007

Why Freedom

Today, May 3, is World Press Freedom Day - a date chosen by the UN to raise awareness of the need for media freedom and the right to free expression. While we are "celebrating" this occasion, let us not forget the huge number of journalists died because of their work, some killed in "dangerous zones", and around 70% murdered.
Let us not forget why we are begging, fighting and dying for this freedom.

Freedom is the opposite to censorship, filters, if I may, the Great Firewall of China. Not until recently, the very blog I'm writing in right now is banned in China (the domain name: blogspot.com to be specific). BBC news is not accessible in China for years, not to mention Voice of America (but this one is so biased that I won't visit it even it's available). Technorati is banned. Wikipedia, banned. Google is filtered, as you know. A number of terms, names of people who have been speaking against the government have been crossed out of the Internet arena. But you'll be surprised to know the people complaining the most about these censorship are not those civilians whose access to information have been limited, chances are they don't even know about this or not even care. It is the people WITHIN the Chinese government, especially the foreign ministry, who have been complaining the most and urging the government to change that. They are the people most sensible to the changes in the world, they are the people most directly feel the utter importance of the freedom of speech.

The government is to blame, more than blame actually. But are our journalists conscious enough? Are we doing enough to make the government concede? In a country such like China, changes could only take place from within (I know we could argue in length on this point, but for now, let's just agree). Outside force, pressure, whatever you call it, would not make the Chinese government give in, but rather, I sadly assume, make the matter worse. The only way to improve the press freedom in China would be for more and more conscientious journalists to take the lead. The sole strength of China, again arguably, lies in its people; therefore, the only way to "fight" is by the people. The only solution to free press I can see is through thousands, even millions of journalists breaking free themselves, gradually. Progress might be slow and trivial at first, one daring news leak out, the other day, two, one day they report on something 61-point on the censorship-line, the second day 62-point. That's the only road to freedom.


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