Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Last Free Medium?

     It started with the radio. Then came the television. Is the internet the next medium in line to be regulated by the FCC? In class on Wednesday, we discussed the power the Federal Communications Commission demonstrates over the media industry, specifically radio and television. A main reason the FCC has to regulate these mediums is the limited availability of airwaves. If the radio and television industries were unregulated, they would be chaotic and unable to function efficiently, like a road with no rules or police. A more important function, and one that directly relates to the potential regulation of the internet, is the censorship and restriction of content.

     It's easy to make an argument that when it comes to radio and television, there is very little freedom of expression. Whether it's the regulations of the FCC or the preferences of the corporate media owners, it is hard to have true freedom of speech in these mediums. The internet, however, provides a much larger platform for users to express themselves. Just about anyone with internet access can start up a blog and write about whatever they want, granted the content isn't illegal. With this ability, the internet is seemingly the last medium that can convey free speech. With this freedom comes troubles, however. Sites such as Wikileaks that involve the posting of many confidential military files may pose large security threats. The internet has also infamously become a forum for hateful and racist speech.  While it certainly has its pros and cons, are we not far away from the FCC regulating the internet as well?

5 comments:

  1. I think this is an interesting post and I agree that it is only a matter of time before the FCC or some other government agency begins to regulate the internet. Whenever a new media is developed the government will adapt to it and begin to regulate it. I think often times the government is scarred by free speech and they are worried about what people might say when there are no regulations.

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  2. I believe the government in place has a lot to do with the regulations enforced. Conservative Presidents will be more willing to resist regulation of the internet, while liberal Presidencies may push for regulation. In the near future I can see the FCC regulating overly dangerous material on the internet, but I believe we are a long way off from hefty regulation.

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  3. While I do think the FCC will begin to try and regulate the internet. However, I think that the internet is so large it is impossible to regulate it all. With television and radio there are only certain numbers of channels on which to broadcast. On the internet there are an unlimited number of URLs to post on. This will stop from the FCC from completely regulating the internet.

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  4. In countries outside of the USA such as Dubai or Saudi Arabia, the internet is already being regulated by the government. Many sites such as MySpace and blogs are blocked in fear of views that go against Islamic culture. I think that the FCC will eventually take on a similar approach and block websites that go against government policy.

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