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Real Life Big Brother

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Real life Big Brother

When it comes to the United States government meddling in other countries affairs, my reaction is usually that we should mind our own business. I feel that we sometimes stick our nose in where it doesn't belong. However, the punishment being dished out to people in repressive countries; as a result, of the government's control of the internet is both tragic and uncalled for.

In China, journalists who do not follow the "rules" of the internet face reprisals in the workplace or, worse, prison time. The Chinese government employs a diverse range of methods to induce journalists to censor themselves rather than risk punishment. Tactics include dismissals and demotions; authorities also sue journalists for libel, impose fines or close news outlets. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for journalists who overstep boundaries to be imprisoned (Bennett, 2011).

Tan Zuoren was sentenced to five years in prison for drawing attention to government corruption and poor construction of school buildings that collapsed and killed thousands of children during the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province. All inquiries into the issue were blocked by the Chinese government and Zuoren's volunteers were also harassed or beaten (Bennett, 2011).

The Chinese government employs a diverse range of methods to induce journalists to censor themselves rather than risk punishment. Tactics include dismissals and demotions; authorities also sue journalists for libel, impose fines or close news outlets. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for journalists who overstep boundaries to be imprisoned. As of December 2010, China was tied with Iran for the most jailed journalists in a single country with at least thirty-four journalists imprisoned according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (Bennett, 2011).

In my opinion, these incidents are very disturbing; especially, since China's constitution allows citizens freedom of speech and press. Where is the freedom for those journalists who are serving prison terms? I find the actions taken by the Chinese government wrong on many levels, both legally and ethically.

Establishing proxy servers would help thwart internet censorship in repressive countries such as China. Because of the growing presence of U.S. companies in China I do feel that this is a legitimate role of our government. I also feel that the proxy-server plan is a good way to carry out this role.

Congress has taken action by allocating $50 million in the State Department's Budget for firewall-breaching technology, which provides citizens living under repressive regimes access to blocked content. Representative Chris Smith introduced the Global Online Freedom Act to "prevent United States businesses from cooperating with repressive governments in transforming the Internet into a tool of censorship and surveillance" (McMahon & Bennett,

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