Be it Resolved: what you call censorship, I call power struggle

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“You can have Rogan or Young. Not both” So threatened Neil Young to Spotify in protest to the vaccine and COVID misinformation being spread on Joe Rogan’s incredibly popular and lucrative podcast. As more artists began to pull out from the platform, and users deleted their accounts, many decried what they viewed as the latest episode in an ongoing battle over control of the information landscape. Those claiming censorship argue that the Joe Rogan/Spotify episode, following in the footsteps of recent controversies such as Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, is part of a worrisome trend reminiscent of authoritarian style information control that seeks to silence opinions of adversaries that deviate from the “accepted” mode of thought. The continuous effort to de-platform, ban, silence, or tarnish the views of others cannot be allowed to prevail in western democracies. Others argue that this is not censorship, but rather legitimate protest: people using their money, art, voice, and agency to stand up against views they disagree with. In fact, they maintain, this type of protest should be championed as proof that democratic freedoms remain strong. Furthermore, demands of free speech are often aimed at protecting views which have negative impacts - views that should not be allowed to gain traction and influence audiences via massive platforms like Spotify or Netflix.

Arguing for the motion is Karen Attiah, opinion columnist at the Washington Post

Arguing against the motion is Kat Rosenfield, culture columnist for unHerd and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast

QUOTES

Karen Attiah:

“This is a power struggle. Marginalized people are voicing their experiences in an effort to try to gain power, and those who have traditionally held power are looking to hold on to it.”

Kat Rosenfield:

“Democracy requires tolerance for dissent. People need to be free to express themselves, to bring forth ideas, even provocative or offensive ideas. They need to be able to have conversations.”

Sources: MSNBC, CBC, The Joe Rogan Experience, abcqanda, PBS

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