Nowadays, it may seems strange to still talk about the existence of media censorship in some countries and even stranger when that media censorship happens in an economic world power like China.
Chinese Internet company Baidu won the court battle against pro-democracy activists dismissal of a lawsuit over.
The U.S. Courts judge dismissed a lawsuit that accused Baidu, of illegally suppressing political speechs on the search engine and for violation of U.S. laws on free speech. Due to that dismissal, U.S. people couldn’t see the content on the search engine.
Promoters of democracy in China accused Baidu due to a censoring and an illegal suppression of free speech about information of democracy movements in China on internet.
The Chinese search engine not only censored the contents in China, it has also extended it throughout other countries like the U.S. and the plaintiffs claimed that the censorship is not allowed in the U.S.
The group of activists who brought the suit said that Baidu’s censorship was preventing Baidu’s users in the US couldn’t see their work and thus their right to free speech under the US constitution’s First Amendment was violated.
In China, the search engines and the social networks are under a constant harassment by the authorities and they are obliged to adapt their contents to the local policy of this country. Many websites have gone away from China because they have been continuously blocked and censored (ie:Google)
The judge assigned to the case by the State of New York, Jesse Furman rejected the claim and ruled that Baidu has the right to block or not the results of its own engine search and it was protecting its search results and because of that, it should not be punished by North American laws.
That was a very ironic decision because Baidu was defendant due to the violation the U.S. laws on free speech and as against, the US District Court said that Baidu can censor its search result because it is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Normally, this Amendment protects and promotes free speech and is an anti-censorship provision.
“The court has laid out a perfect paradox: that it will allow the suppression of free speech, in the name of free speech,” said Stephen Preziosi, a lawyer for the activists.
That decision seems like that The First Amendment is protecting Baidu’s right to block any information about the democracy.
The plaintiffs are seeking to appeal the judge’s decision and it is probably that the appeal could result succesful to the pro-democracy activists. They are seeking for a greater openness and democracy in China
Is no a secret that in the Asiatic giant there is a big control by the government to the media. Each word, each image and each content is controlled by the meticulous censorship methods of the government.
Obviously internet is not going to be an exception and like other communication and information mass media it is being controlled and censored.