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With certain bans and regulations placed in plenty of different cultures, people are using the internet to get their point across, when normally it would not heard.  

Twenty years ago, a social networking website being used to comment on a rigged election in Iran would have been incomprehensible.  After a ban was placed on all foreign media from reporting on the elections, Iranians turned to the website Twitter to let the rest of the world know what was happening. In 18 days, over 2 million ‘tweets’ were posted on the subject, and websites like YouTube were able to show millions the death of Neda, an Iranian protester killed in real-time.  

‘Broadcast Yourself’

YouTube- a streaming website to show the world all types of videos

 In the 20th Century, it was very difficult for an ordinary member of the public to get their views heard by others, but since the creation of the internet, there are now thousands of ways for people to get their point across – blogging, tweeting, or even their own tv channels.  

WikiLeaks- Where users can anonymously post news the press can't write about

  With over 25% of the world population (2 billion users) online, it is now so easy for a crowd of eye witnesses to witness almost any event, and capture information to publish to the rest of the world. This, of course, can be anonymously, like people who use sites such as WikiLeaks to let the world know some of the largest secrets; or groups such as Al Qaeda, who share their anger with the world on a daily basis. 

‘A Threat to National Security’

WikiLeaks, which uses investigative journalists to post information anonymously, has had plenty of coverage in recent weeks, with the Pentagon claiming that it is a major threat to national security.  

The Pentagon: Home of US Department of Defense

After certain US military secrets were leaked on the website, the Department of Defense felt that “the information could be used by foreign intelligence, insurgents or terrorists for planning attacks”.  

The US, however, are not the only state to have problems with WikiLeaks, with Chinese, North Korean, and Russian governments all recently trying to block the website, among others.  

Great Firewall of China

China, one of the countries who have shown their distaste to WikiLeaks, have created their own way to stop information they don’t want getting onto the internet. Known as the Great Firewall of China, web content is reviewed, and sites are banned from use in parts of the country.  

Some of the western world’s most used sites, such as Facebook, Google, Myspace and YouTube, are all unavailable under these regulations, and website Great Firewall of China shows which sites are banned.  

The Chinese government is quick to find ‘negative’ posts on forums or blogs, and can remove them in seconds. However, it is the ’50 cent party’ which has generated the most interest.  

By posting positive comments about government policies on internet message boards, a user will receive 50 cents (hence the name). Although some users can tell which comments have come from these ‘social commentators’, they are there to help skew the public opinion and change anti-political views.  

With the Internet created for freedom of speech and to share information, these boundaries placed by the Chinese government show that not all speech is ‘free’, and there is some sort of overall control.


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