By Isabella Agrusa
One of the most important rights to Americans is the first amendment; however, these liberties can be breached when the government is appointed extreme amounts of power. With this comes more opportunities for the government to infringe on the rights and freedoms of the people and leave little to no opportunities to speak what one truly feels, thinks, and believes. The ideas and concerns presented in George Orwell's novel, 1984, are increasingly becoming prevalent in countries across the world, even the United States.
The "People's Republic of China" reserves free speech only to the political elite 1, as they are less likely to speak against the party, showing who really holds the power. Doing this ensures that the party controls what they want their citizens to see and believe. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, China implemented firewalls, commonly referred to as the Great Firewall of China, to block content considered 'state secrets,' which is a vague term for anything that they deem harmful to the party's interests. Limiting what information is available to the public, violates the 35th article in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China as it states that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration". 2
The censorship of the internet in China is quite Orwellian. Whoever controls the media, controls history, and has the means to alter it to their advantage. By providing only one viewpoint through controlling the internet and media, it only promulgates what they want you to think and anything countering it is considered "thought crime'. Similar to Winston's job in the Ministry of Truth, China has over two million people who monitor and censor the internet to make sure that the party's beliefs and propaganda are sustained without any contradiction. 3
In the United States, the media controls what is presented and current in the news by covering certain events and issues more extensively, which further the public's interest in a specific topic. Even though the media is not controlled by the government, they have the ability to control what is brought into the light and what is not. A large concern for many is the lack of news reporting that is done with the media. When watching major news networks, there is always bias present; they lean to a specific side and provide viewers with what they want them to think. This hinders us as Americans because it does not allow us to develop our own opinions and pushes us to think to a specific side.
Isabella currently attends Michigan State and will graduate in 2024.