Cyberhate - Hate Propaganda and Internet Censorship
The Internet is an ideal medium for hate groups, such as neo-Nazis, because of the mass exposure, inexpensiveness, uncensored nature and ease of publishing offered. The Internet allows hate groups to target a broad audience: impressionable children are the most vulnerable. Attempts at censorship fail because of the international nature of the Internet, and to a lesser extent, free speech contentions. Instead, the freedom of speech exercised by cyberhate groups can be applied by online anti-hate advocates to counter cyberhate.
Educating youth is the most important tool against cyberhate, however. Teaching children to be critical of content on the Internet implies that children think critically about cultural tolerance and intolerance: hate in reality should not be treated differently than cyberhate. Given that an education is provided to youth about cultural issues in school, censorship of hate propaganda is not necessary.
Cyberhate and Freedom of Speech
"Hate Propaganda in Cyberspace", by Young M. Kim, attempts to address the issue of censorship of the Internet with respect to hate propaganda. The relevancy of the argument against censorship in favour of free speech is undeniable, but Kim's means of arguing so is mediocre. Kim's supporting evidence is weak and contradictory, her style depreciating, and her solution vague but sensible. Despite these shortcomings, the idea to utilize free speech and public education to combat cyberhate is a powerful suggestion in comparison to the social impediments of censorship.
Kim begins the article by stressing the growing number of hate groups and web sites on the Internet in the USA. This provides the reader with a reason for concern, but the trend is questioned by the footnote: "Many [hate group] web sites are more likely to be individual publishers even though they portray themselves as organized groups." (2002, Kim) The correlation drawn between the increase in the number of hate groups, hate sites, and hate crimes in tandem with an increased liberal view of racism in society confuse and distract the reader from the validity of the argument. Forceless statements such as "If these numbers are correct..." after describing that rising hate group numbers are difficult to discern also jeopardize credibility (2002, Kim). Kim's references are suspect as well: one third are from nonacademic sources such as CNN, ABC News, and Time magazine. A dependency on such partial sources is below the quality expected of university-level writing. The evidence provided in "Hate Propaganda" is obviously inadequate, and is weakened further by the style of the article.
Kim's writing style can be unsure and depreciating. The unsubstantiated observation that "Perhaps, the Internet might have been the greatest thing that ever happened to hate," [italics added] is weakly phrased, unsupported and left to be unquestioned by the reader (2002, Kim). As such, it does...