Freedom of Conscience

Freedom of Speech is one of the most fundamental human rights allowed in many governances, though many countries do not share that same luck. When examining the countries that suppress their constituents voices, the battlefield of resistance is mostly carried out online. Bloggers who label themselves as Political Activists are some of the most active proponents in advancing freedoms for themselves and others in countries that have gone as far as banning assembly of more than five people and banning Facebook & YouTube. What the governments fear behind the freedom of speech and freedom to explore information via the internet is the ability to realize, question and criticize the modes of oppression they are under.

Bassel Khartabil was one of the greatest advocates for an unrestricted and open source internet in the Arab world. His advances in establishing the creative commons in Arabic allowed for the growth of a prominent hacker-space in Syria and open web for his country. Though in the midst of the Arab Spring uprisings, he was arrested and then disappeared completely under the Syrian regime. The charges he was arrested under was “harming state security,” which was completely illegitimate, since Bassel’s contributions only benefitted the country by helping others share information via the internet.

I think one of the most important remarks to take away from the circumstances that Bassel and his community have undergone is the importance of freedom of speech and expression. Bassel Khartabil provided the technology and space for people to explore a free internet, and thus a free conscious to question corrupt regimes. His arrest is a stab at the online communities right to share and express ideas, thus explaining the Arab worlds anger on the disappearance and presumed death of such a bright young mind.

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One thought on “Freedom of Conscience

  1. It’s a shame that bloggers that live, breathe, and experience injustice everyday cannot get the recognition or protection that journalists do. It’s understandable why their credibility can’t be so readily verified, but nonetheless it is tragic that bloggers risk their lives to speak out and still have to worry about people questioning the veracity of their comments. This is why we must not see fatigue. This is why the network of bloggers, the solidarity, the support for, the demand for bloggers must remain high. The blogger is a thankless job and a dangerous one. It is the centerpiece and driving force of the fight for freedom of speech. While it’s true that the credibility of bloggers can sometimes come into question, it can be argued that, in a sense, the content of the blog does not matter. Instead, the ability TO blog is what must be defended. Regardless of truth, bias, or anything else, the individual must have the unalienable right to express themselves as they please. So looking at it in that perspective, the support for bloggers must remain as strong as possible because yes they are reporting the real, raw, truth of the situation, but even if they weren’t, they’d still have a right to publish whatever they want.

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