The Digital "Freedom of Speech"



Robert F. Kennedy once said in his famous Day of Affirmation Address that the first and most critical element of individual liberty is “the freedom of speech; the right to express and communicate ideas, to set oneself apart from the dumb beasts of field and forest.” Freedom of speech which we come across in every fight related to the right is one of the basic essential characteristics of a society. Be it from individual living rights to a social right leading to the digital era of the world.

Digital as a potent platform

Digital is the word which suddenly took all sparks. The rise of Internet permanently changed the media landscape for the world to make it better and interesting. From messaging to posting on a social wall to an era of blogging, in other words, we can say the internet has given voice to the voiceless. Going back to the invention of telegram, then telephone, later on came radio and then computer to the use of mobile phones, the communication system has moved on with new innovations.

How can we forget the medium for interaction within metres and kilometres away and the only platform to disseminate information, World Wide Web? With this change, there had been no reason for any kind of barrier to move ahead with the trend. Suited and most important the only friend or partner for all age group of people is the internet.

“Cyberculture,” The New Tradition

The generation took a turn in the 1960s and 70s when digital history kick-started. The next development that rose digitally was the cyberculture which gave birth to facebook, twitter and all related social networking sites, gaming, Youtube etc. With these new technologies, people are creating new forms of social expression, mash-ups, and cultural conversations. By knowing the varied aspect of life and changes, people came to believe more in freedom of speech and expression. Digital is one such platform which has no issue in sharing his ideas and thoughts, it is free to express anything and to anyone.

Internet Users in India

With this grew the trend of advertising and publicity with respect to digital as a whole. Digital advertising then came to its being, with new and latest opportunities. The market of sharing the product in a more creative form that expresses everything in a single go. The rise in digital advertising in India grew every year like this:

Digital Advertising Market in India

Threats to digital freedom of speech

Like two sides of coin digital industry also went through many ups and downs. The first threat to free speech on the Internet is website filtering and censorship by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This is still practised in America; it includes web filtering technologies to censor the internet.

The next on the list is the latest Net neutrality issue that raised many questions and many campaigns were run in order to save the internet. All social networking sites were flooded with views on net neutrality; different videos were screened for eg, AIB video that raised maximum views. Everything started when the reports about blocking BitTorrent, a popular peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used by millions of Internet users was aired.

There was a series of confusion, many supported this theme and many were against and took steps to Save the Internet. Find below are few of the tweets that drew attention.

The new beginning

These threats and ways to tackle back with them showed the need for internet. The only Independent technology globally whose success largely depends on its free and open nature, is internet. After 69 years of Independent India at least we have so much freedom digitally that we can walk hand in hand to increase the protection for free speech on the internet without harming government policies. Let’s take a pledge to work on this in a better way with more respect to make it independent to generations to come!

Happy Independence Day.

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