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Don't Take Freedom To Write For Granted

Story ID:6005
Written by:Nancy J. Kopp (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Manhattan KS USA
Person:Nancy Kopp
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I read a short article this morning about the controls China is putting on publishing e-books. They also control which blogs the citizens of China can read. No doubt in my mind that they also ban books the government leaders don't approve of.

When I first started my blog, I announced it to my online critique group, and most of them hurried right over to the site to check it out--loyal friends that they are. But a day or two later, I received an e-mail from one of the writersandcritters members who lives in Shanghai.

She wrote that my blog had been blocked in China. "...probably because of all the evil things you write," she finished. I was laughing here in the USA and she was laughing about it in Shanghai. But somehow, it's no laughing matter.

The article I read today and the memory of my friend's dilemma made me think that we sometimes take our freedom of the press issue a little too lightly. When you have it, you don't think about it. It's only when you are denied that it becomes an irritation. Rub a sore long enough, and it ends up a painful wound.

In our country, writers can write what we want in most instances, although we need to consider libelous statements, unethical or hurtful things when we write for publication. Libraries guard the right to put all books on their shelves. Even so, an occasional library makes the headlines when they remove a book deemed inappropriate, and if it goes so far as a courtroom, they usually lose. Rightly so. To write and read anything is only one of the many freedoms Americans are privileged to have, but it's a biggie.

We don't always agree with what's written. If something offends us in a newspaper or book, the simple solution is to put it down. No one forces us to read--that's something we choose to do.

I hope you'll think about the many precious freedoms in our country. Don't take them for granted. Many of our ancestors fought in various ways to attain and preserve those freedoms for us, our children and our grandchildren. The next time you write a story or article, find a little joy that you can do it without censorship.