In America, rigid laws both protect and police the journalists. One of the purposes of these laws is to protect the news venues from censorship. Censorship, an ugly concept that most Americans really do not commonly experience, runs rampant in other parts of the world. Actually, Americans often take the constitutional right of “Freedom of the Press” for granted. The fact is that this freedom is so pivotal to our society that we should fight to protect it every day. Americans cannot comprehend the amount of persecution and censorship that journalists of other countries endure to simply print the truth. One of these nations is Egypt.
Prior to the protests that spurred on the revolution in Egypt, police brutality was the norm. No one could speak against it for fear of harsh retaliation from law enforcement. However, a spark of hope was kindled in 2006 when a viral video of police violence caused the officers who were involved to be arrested. Journalist Stephen Franklin calls this “extraordinary movement”, a “sudden burst of justice.” He goes on to say that, “few [had] dared to point their fingers at police wrongdoing in Egypt. An it [was] even rarer that the culprits [were] punished.” Not even the newspapers, who were mainly controlled by the government, could report on this violence.
The silence of the press on these matters is atrocious and foreign to most Americans. They are unaware that the freedoms that are so basic to them—to us—are freedoms that most of the world covet. Franklin tells the story of an Egyptian author named Alaa al Aswany who “tried for years to tell the story of the government’s corruption and abuse and its blindness toward the massive numbers of poor. State censors blocked the publication of nearly all his books.” Stories like this are unheard of in America.
We have great freedoms in America today. We need to remember these stories of censorship and never cease to be grateful for the freedoms we have been given. We also need to fight for these freedoms.