The Internet: the last form of “free” speech?

When discussing free speech most people focus on the idea of the freedom to have and share your own opinion about the world around us.   While this is an very important part of free speech, how does the average person share their opinion?  In the era of printing presses, the average person could print their views at a low cost.  Today, for many people it is enough to tell their family and friends while sitting at the dinner table, maybe in the hope of having an influence on their opinions but no strong motive.  Some might take it a step further and send a letter to the editor in the hopes of it being printed in the local paper.  But for the most part people turn to the internet. Information and opinions, from the average person, are shared faster than ever and all for free! Whether it is a shared link on Facebook to your closest 1,000 “friends”,  a comment on an article in The New York Times or a weekly blog. 

The internet and net neutrality is the newest and most important unresolved issues debate concerning regulating media ownership. If companies were allowed to slow down speed of some internet sites or even block some websites, the idea of a “free” and open access  internet would be lost. Costumers would have to pay more when using data-heavy sites and companies would have to pay to keep their sites running fast and available.  Media would continue to be controlled by who can afford to speak their mind.

This would obviously be very good for  companies providing internet. Not only would they be making tons of money from the internet users and companies paying for their sites to be “promoted”, they would also have the ability to promote their websites.  These big companies can share the information they want and their opinions very easily and for a small cost. But this leaves the average person with limited resources to share their opinion to anyone more than their family and maybe their town.

Internet is the last form of media available to the average person and for that reason I believe internet must stay free and open access to all.

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