Censorship Across the Globe North korea, syria, china, and america

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • "Censorship is Isolation"; Artistic Product by Anna Holly
  • "Silencing the People"; Artistic Product by Alanna Humphrey
  • "Destruction Within Expression"; Artistic Product by Carolyn Snell
  • "Mirrored Silence"; Artistic Product by Lillian Kostoff
  • Bibliography

Silencing Their People

All over the world, throughout a variety of countries, censorship from uptight governments is taken to a whole new level. People in power can control the actions and speech of their citizens. For example, in Damascus, Syria, where the novel A Hand Full of Stars takes place, the government tries to limit how much citizens are allowed to talk about their country. This is commonly done because some governments are overpowering and don't want their people to find government secrets. By speaking out, people could spread awareness and improve their lifestyles by forcing the negativity out. Sometimes going against the government can result in punishments such as being beaten, facing jail time, and more. This type of behavior reinforces the severity of this topic that occurs throughout several different countries.

Beijing, China

Censorship is Isolation (審查是孤立)

By Anna Holly

In the past, we saw China as the land of cheap rip-offs. Now we see 'The Great Firewall', communism, and censorship. Chinese citizens are outraged by the laws and regulations that the Communist Party are creating. This is because the government bans the most popular websites and applications, and replaces them with their own heavily monitored versions. Most of these "replacements" are huge in China because if citizens want social media and internet, they are forced to use creations from those companies. Therefore, in my depiction of this situation, I created a digital prainting. The small red planet on the top right is China. I used their flag to represent the planet. China is isolated from what looks like the rest of Earth. In reality, Chinese citizens feel like they are isolated from what is known as the "Western World", or every place on Earth that isn't China. So, organizations pop up and try to stop the Communist Party from increasing the distance between them and the rest of the world. That's why you see a rope trying to pull the two planets together again. Chinese people want to see change, and they even get help from other countries like America to make it happen.

New York City, USA

Silencing the People

By Alanna Humphrey

In the first amendment it states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble; and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This amendment has been active since December 15, 1791 and is one of the most important amendments in our bill of rights. In the 21st century, it has become more difficult for the government to keep this amendment alive ever since September 11, 2001. The first amendment can be lifted only for security issues, interrogations on suspicious individuals if this is necessary. The New York Times recently reported that national security reporter James Risen may be jailed for refusing to reveal a source, while freelance digital journalist Barrett Brown faces more than 100 years in jail for linking his reporting yo stolen documents although he was not involved in the actual theft.

The freedom of the press protects the right to obtain and publish information or opinions without government censorship or fear of punishment. In the United States, the government may not prevent the publication of a newspaper, even when there is a reason to believe that it is about to reveal information that will endanger our national security. The government cannot pass: a law that requires newspapers to publish information against their will, impose criminal penalties, or civil damages, on the publication of truthful information about a public person except in rare circumstances, impose taxes on the press that it does not levy on their businesses, compel journalists to reveal, in most circumstances, the identities of their sources, prohibit the press from attending judicial proceedings and thereafter informing the public about them, Therefore, only when the national security is compromised, is when they would have to uplift this amendment.

For my artistic product, I created an original artwork piece. It contains a woman with her mouth zipped shut. This symbolizes how we can be silenced by people around us and our government. The United States has very little restrictions on this, but some countries have to be very cautious when they speak. In my background, I included the American flag to symbolize the country I researched

Damascus, Syria

Destruction Within Expression

By Carolyn Snell

This drawing represents silence within the Syrian people by their own government. Commonly, in Syria, writers and journalist are the ones who are silenced and or punished by speaking out with their opinions. The buildings on the left side of the paper are going up in flames and papers written because of freedom of expression, flying in the direction of the government to show that they have more power and can control their people.

Fire destroys everything in its path and leaves a mark wherever it goes. Buildings going up in flames shows that work that has been done or said by the citizens of Syria have been marked by the government and symbolizes that the government has the control. The government tries to be informed of everything that Syrian citizens do, especially being aware of Freedom of Expression. As the civil war raged on, Syria remained one of the world’s deadliest places to practice journalism in 2014. People who are brave enough, typically types of authors or publishers try to speak their minds about different issues to try to inform others to have their claims heard. Sadly, several consequences occur and the government takes control to silence these people for going against the government. At least 17 journalists were killed and dozens more were injured, abducted, or imprisoned by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, various Syrian opposition factions, and the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Paper flying towards the direction of the government shows silence by taking writing from publishers. The drawing shows three buildings that are commonly knows in Syria for the workers in these majors to speak out. The government takes work produced, in this case the papers, and hides them from the world so that no one can see the opinion of true Syrian citizens and the issues created by the overpowering government. This happens because the government doesn't want anyone to take control and overpower the government itself. They cover the fear of this by silencing the citizens and overruling Freedom of Expression.

To hear such consequences for a human citizen right is just upsetting. The government should have a positive influences to make their country better and more functional place for the citizens. Instead, it isn't. People are being punished and silenced for speaking their minds out. To show a visual representation, this drawing physically shows using flames and paper to symbolize silence within the Syrian people by their own government. Commonly, this happens with publishers and writers which is shown in the artwork. People can't do anything about this situation because they are silenced and it's hard to truly understand what is happening in this country due to this issue

Pyongyang, North Korea

Mirrored Silence

By Lillian Kostoff

For my piece, I drew a picture of a laptop and split the image into two separate sides. On the left side of the piece, there is a photo of a dog on the laptop. On the right side of the piece, there is very small font with the name Kim Jong-un bolded where it is the only thing on the laptop that is visible. This is pretty straight forward at first glance - the left side represents how in America, you are able to access any website that you want. I drew the dog because it is such a difference from the average North Korean website, having pictures and lots of bright colors. In the United States, you could visit a website of dogs if you please because there is no internet restrictions keeping anyone from doing so.

However, in North Korea, there are many restrictions within the online world. On the right side of the photo, there is a very simple image of only a black and white screen with words on it. This represents that very little internet access is available to citizens, only the bare necessities are available for public consumption. Also, on the computer screen, the name Kim Jong-un is bolded above everything else. Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea, has programmed all North Korean websites so that whenever his name is mentioned, his name is bolded so that his name is seem above everything else. I put that into the piece because it’s a true fact, but also for another reason and very important representation.

This represents that Kim Jong-un is very overpowering to his country. He is seen to be bigger and oppressive to the rest of North Korea and his people. Since his name is extremely large and nothing else is able to be seen, this is a metaphor of how he silences his citizens to the point where they don’t have a voice against him.

This piece shows the major differences between internet in the United States and internet in North Korea, where North Korea has major censorship laws, unlike the United States where we live.


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@FreedomHouseDC. "Syria." Country Report | Freedom of the Press | 2015. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

"Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press." Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. <http://www.lincoln.edu/criminaljustice/hr/Speech.htm>.

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Magnay, Jacquelin. "London 2012 Olympics: Syrian Athletes May Compete under Neutral, Five-ring Olympics Flag." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

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"Why Liberals and Progressives Hate America." HubPages. HubPages, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Yeo, Kok Leng. Wikimedia Commons. Kok Leng Yeo, 24 Sept. 2008. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.


Created with images by TheDigitalWay - "globe world map" • Erdenebayar - "street traffic high way" • Unsplash - "manhattan empire state building new york city" • jemasmith - "Alley way, Old Damascus, Syria." • yeowatzup - "Pyongyang, North Korea"

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