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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Get up, stand up

Published: September 21, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

As YouTube shows, the world has developed a fascination with the story of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer, who was stunned with a Taser after his outburst at a Q&A with John Kerry.

However, perhaps the amount of internet traffic directed at videos of this incident only reflects the world's fascination with violence, while completely ignoring the bigger underlying issue: freedom of speech.

Although Meyer did exhibit an unreserved level of passion while posing his questions to Kerry, all human beings, including politicians, need to be held responsible for their actions and be able to defend their choices, even if that means answering to a college student. It was unnecessary for university police to silence Meyer at all costs.

While the University of Florida incident is a more blatant and violent example, freedom of speech is being attacked in all arenas.

In the most recent issue of non-profit magazine Adbusters, Sean Condon reports in an article entitled, “The Death of Canadian Journalism,” on the slow, unfair and painful creative demise currently occurring at Canadian daily newspaper The Vancouver Sun.

Since 2000, when CanWest Global Communications took hold of The Sun, editors have adopted the practice of taking journalistic freedom away from their own writers and sweeping story ideas under the rug.

The Sun has gone from printing in-house criticism to scaring its own employees into anonymity for Condon's article.

Whether it is all over YouTube or being carried out behind the closed doors of a newspaper that is slowly losing its journalistic integrity, attacks on freedom of speech are occurring daily and worldwide.

While the idea of an increasingly technological world is daunting, if YouTube is necessary to inform people about these degradations of freedom of speech, then so be it. As long as it prevents the day when people walk around in silence for fear of getting stunned, then log on, watch it and stand up.