Endorsing Terrorists or Waiving Our Rights?

Elise Miller

“Congress shall make no law. . .abridging the freedom of speech” (United States Constitution).
America was created because people wanted freedom and yearned for their rights. American citizens wanted to do and say what they what they pleased, and have no restrictions. Although this law seems fairly simple, recently great controversy has arisen on its behalf. After the terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State in Syria) recorded and publicized the beheading of U.S reporter James Foley in late August, people have been been arguing as to wheather the recording should stay in the public domain. The video which was posted on youtube, has since been taken down by Youtube executives, and Twitter administrators have been removing accounts that posted links to the video.

Congress shall make no law. . . abridging the freedom of speech”

The issue regarding free speech on the Internet is becoming a problem. Lauren C. Williams, a reporter on thinkprogress.org wrote an article on the idea of banning the video. Williams addresses the point that the Internet needs to have consistency. Other execution videos have been on the Internet, but they have not been taken down. The reason being that the victims are Syrians or Palestinians who do not have any family members who can request that the videos be taken down. Also, multiple videos have been shown of police brutality. For example, Eric Garner, who was killed in July by the police, is in a video where you can see him being choked to death (Williams). The problem is not only that by banning these videos we are restricting peoples’ rights, but also that we are not being consistent about it. There either needs a complete restriction of violent videos on media sites, or a free for all regarding such materials, including videos as vivid as Foley’s. The important thing to remember is that by watching this video, ISIS is getting exactly what they were striving for, publicity and wide spread fear. By showing this video, ISIS is making a statement, and we cannot allow them to get the attention they are craving.