Thank You, Freedom of Information

Thank You, Freedom of Information

Michael Hum and Jose Gama

When we take interest in something, we can simply look online for answers. Whether we want to find information on fringe ideas or underreported events, we can easily look up information on a non-biased search engine and easily access information that is non-mainstream or controversial to help us form an unbiased opinion. The freedom of information is so underappreciated that we only notice it when it’s nonexistent. For people in authoritarian countries, looking at anti-government standings is only possible by defying government policy, and gravely punishable if found. 

To start, some countries like Cuba have extreme and unnecessary control over internet access and information from sources not approved by the government. They jam radio signals from outside radio broadcasting systems, and block all mainstream social media outlets. Other countries, such as China, restrict their internet access so that most unbiased or foreign websites are either banned or localized to fit the government’s agenda, which leads to a lack of transparency. Additionally, strict punishments are enforced for expressing dissent or accessing censored information, leading to many people self-censoring or hiding their opinion from being expressed.  

In contrast, we are in a good position when it comes to freedom of information. America guarantees freedom of expression and press and cracks down on laws that attack free speech. The laws protecting freedom of speech directly correlate to the freedom of information, as reporters and media outlets based in the U.S. do not have an overarching filter on topics. Americans have an opportunity when it comes to an issue to look at commentary from multiple viewpoints and decidedly form their own opinions without government intervention.

The truth of any event is extremely important. Without a proper overview of everything, we’d be ignorant of the entire truth. We would all probably just listen to what we’re told and not question it, but access to sources that say otherwise allows us to have an opinion and the full perspective of any issue our society wants to learn more about. So, we should be thankful for freedom of information.


Graphic courtesy of PXHERE.COM