Media censorship is a global phenomenon that has foreshadowed information outlets for centuries. A common ground for censorship is maintenance of an orderly state, whereas, the underlying motive is to keep public ignorant of the information that can potentially threaten authorities. The worldwide Internet connectivity in the contemporary era allows information to pass through within and beyond borders in minimal time; therefore, increasing number of media consumers depend on the Internet for a wide variety of information. Historically, the access to news has not been this easy; the press in most of Europe in the 18th century was under the draconian reins of censorship, which gradually abated by the 19th century due to public demand. However, autocratic and heavily centralized governments still openly or subtly employ censorship as a tool to silence government opposition. To combat information coup, tech savvy journalists and independent reporters channel information through social media, blogs, and news websites. The governments survive by using stringent Internet surveillance apparatus that effectively block websites and subtly filter information; hence only selective news is allowed to penetrate the firewall. The governments also hunt down citizens and journalists accessing disallowed websites to create a ubiquitous atmosphere of fear, harassment, and persecution. The role of media in a society is not limited to bringing information to public; therefore, it is crucial that media does not capitalize on selling meaningless sensation that can potentially harm people, sects, races, and religions. This paper will focus on information coup through media censorship and the responsibility media is laden with to cultivate tolerance and responsibility in the public at large.
Key words: First amendment, free media, internet surveillance, self-censorship.
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