Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On Censorship: China's Firewall

We here in These United States enjoy a great deal of freedom of press.  We're one of the freest countries in the world.  When it comes to freedom of press, Reporters Without Borders ranks us 41st - up from 49th a year ago.  (When you get towards the top of the list, the countries are so close together, it's difficult to jump.  ...That's not to say there isn't room for improvement.)

To see the full list and map, click here.

You'll notice that China ranks 176 out of 180 countries.  (If you're wondering what country comes in dead last, it's Eritrea.)

If you haven't yet clicked on the full list and map, click on them now.  Remember to TKWA the map - but do this on your own, in your head.  Explore it for yourself.  See what happens when you click on a country.  See what happens when you scroll through the list.  (Here's the link again.)

As you're looking through the list, remember that we've been studying governments.  Ask yourself this question as you're processing all this: do the countries with less press freedom probably have limited, or unlimited governments?

And then, here's another thing I want you to check out: The Great China Firewall.  (But let me talk about it for a minute, first.)

You guys know how  SOOOooooo much stuff at school is blocked, right?  And maybe you can find ways around it - but if you get caught, you'll get in trouble, so it's probably not worth it.  Did you know that the country of China does that for the ENTIRE country?  It's true.  (That's one of the reasons they're ranked 176 out of 180...)

Well, there is a website that's been tracking whether or not certain other websites have been blocked in China during that day.  And the website has been doing this every day since Nov. 21, 2015.

Go to that website, and just look around for a while.  Check it out HERE.

Then, answer a couple questions: 1. Why might the school block certain websites?  2. Why might China (or Eritrea) block certain websites?  The Reporters Without Borders Website says, "As well as building a Great Firewall to monitor and control blogs and social networks, the Communist Party exercises total control over China's many media outlets..."  The Communist Party is a group of unelected leaders that runs the country.  ...Meaning 3. China has what type of government?

If you show this blog post to your parents tonight, and discuss it with them, you can get 5 extra credit points if you write a paragraph about your discussion and have them sign it.  Make sure your name, date, and hour is on the paper, then turn it in tomorrow in the extra credit tray.