Argument: Censorship is common globally; China was in-bounds with Google

Issue Report: Google decision to stop censoring results in China


“Editorial: Google and China.” Arab News. January 15, 2010: “AT its most basic, censorship is a necessary social mechanism. For instance, people generally censor their comments to avoid causing offense to others. At a higher level, every country in the world exercises some form of legally enforced censorship, even in the so-called liberal democracies. People simply may not write or say or do whatever they want. There are constraints. In many European countries, for instance, it is a crime, punishable with imprisonment, to deny the Nazi Holocaust took place. Likewise expressions of racial bigotry can and do lead to prosecutions and often stiff penalties in many countries.

Censorship is, therefore, a reality, the nature of which will change from country to country. Outsiders may disagree with these legal constraints, but in the final analysis, it is not their business. It is incumbent on any foreigner coming to another country, especially for reasons of business, to respect the sensibilities of their host country, particularly those sensibilities that are enshrined in the local laws that deal with censorship.”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in January of 2010 that Google had made an “irrational business decision” because “the U.S. is the most extreme when it comes to free speech,” and because Google does business in many other countries with censorship laws (such as France, where Nazi denial is banned.).[1]