Twitter & Graphic Images – Elise Miller

The problem is not only that by banning these videos we are restricting people's rights, but also that we aren’t being consistent about which we ban.

+Illustration+by+Edwards+McGowan+

Illustration by Edwards McGowan

Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech (United States Constitution). America was created because people wanted freedom and their rights. They wanted to do and say what they wanted, and to not be restricted by anyone. Despite the fact that this seems to be a well-loved law, there has recently been controversy over it.

Ever since U.S reporter James Foley was beheaded in late August by the terrorist group ISIS, people have been arguing about whether or not the video of Foley’s decapitation should stay on social media. Although YouTube took the video off, and Twitter has actually been removing accounts that posted links to the video, the issue regarding free speech on the Internet is becoming a problem. Lauren C. Williams, a reporter for thinkprogress.org recently wrote an article on the banning of this video. Williams’ most important point is that the Internet needs to have consistency. Other execution videos have been on the Internet, but they haven’t been taken down because those executed are Syrians or Palestinians, who don’t have any family members able to request that the videos be removed.

Also, multiple videos have been shown of police brutality. For example, the police killed a man called Eric Garner in July, and there is now a video circulating of his death (Williams). The problem is not only that by banning these videos we are restricting people’s rights, but also that we aren’t being consistent about which we ban. There either needs to be a total absence of violent videos on media sites, or else nationality disregarded and all included.

The important thing to remember is that by watching this video, ISIS is getting the publicity and awareness they want to raise. By showing this video, they are making a statement, and we need to not allow them to get the attention they are craving.