Approach 1: The Internet is a revolutionary leap forward for the exchange of ideas and free markets. Direct or indirect censorship could stifle this great resource. No single creation has revolutionized the human existence the way the Internet has.
For the first time in human history, we live in an era of true knowledge. In this modern-day Library of Alexandria , there exists instant access to a vast wealth of knowledge on virtually any subject, available to any individual who seeks it.
We have the opportunity to be informed in a variety of mediums previously unavailable. From text to video, laypeople to experts, this revolutionary presence of information is the essential foundation for the presence of an informed global population.
We are now a single civilization, no longer separated by geographic concerns, united on a digital plane in a manner unprecedented in human history. The Internet allows for a truly flat world; individuals in China may be communicated with just as easily as texting a next-door neighbor.
And this age of immediacy demands more from every participant of this global civilization. The Internet calls for information to be more thorough, more accurate, more eloquent and easily understood. It demands that the information of tomorrow be available today and hails those who deliver our needs.
Most importantly, however, the Internet is the first truly interactive medium of information. Just as our knowledge may be instantly updated, we have the opportunity to immediately respond to its authors and to our peers. The knowledge we keep on the Internet has the opportunity not only to be published, but to be consistently and persistently responded to, altered and viewed in new lights.
The global economy may be built on a free exchange of goods, but global knowledge the Internet is built on the free exchange of ideas, where any mind may come and freely discuss any number of subjects.
To allow a governing force to mandate what may and may not be present on the Internet is to inherently quiet the uncensored exchange of ideas it allows.
Any form of censorship, whether from special-interest groups, concerned citizens or an appointed group, destroys the most valuable characteristic of the Internet.
Without censorship, any voice, any thought, any mind has an equal opportunity to be recognized, to be heard, to be understood. To place restrictions on what may be published on the Internet is for us to decide that some minds are less valuable than others, that some voices do not deserve to be so loud.
A global community demands uncompromising freedom, the absolute equality of opportunity and a medium of communication that exists to ensure such notions. The Internet is a global tool for communication and the sharing of ideas. It is not for any one person or coalition to claim. To protect its existence as a global entity, we must keep it open for anyone to interact openly and without restrictions.
The Internet should not and cannot be censored or contained.
Rachel Lemashov is a junior at Penn State majoring in psychology and communication arts and sciences.