The barriers of cultural communications. The power of a message. The global accessibility of technology. Should there be a regard for ethics and cultural sensitivity when it comes to conveying a message? In the United States, citizens utilize their freedom of speech brazenly in comparison to other cultures; yet should this human right allow us to publicize content on a global level, specifically targeting cultures which indubitably do not exercise the freedom of speech to the extent westernized culture does? The key to artfully communicating is catering your message to your audience. The internet is a global technological platform for communication which places a great deal of responsibility on content creators.
This article is a response to the Anti-Muslim Video which has caused riots, hate crimes, and wide-spread violence world-wide. I believe that it is the responsibility of webmasters to empower users before viewing content. This can be done by providing a synopsis of the content, i.e. tagging videos as satire or inappropriate. These warnings could also be added post video upload by YouTube users based on votes. The issue at hand is not one of religious difference or the intent of the film maker. It’s an issue of communication in terms of technological accessibility, cultural awareness, and the power of a message. A simple resolution to this problem would be respecting a social group by not creating a film which blatantly depicts a parody of sorts about the Islamic culture. However, it’s obviously not that simple. Due to language and cultural barriers, what appears to be a parody to one group of people is simply an insult to others. One should have the freedom to express a message in any form in order to make a statement be it religious, political, sexual, etc. So perhaps we can develop the technology to communicate the true intent of our online content, while working to prevent and stem the outrage of unsuspecting users.
They must first provide a description and rate its content based on level of controversy. In that case, those who still wish to view it after they have read the warning (description of the content) will take responsibility. This may not seem like a significant step in improving such a matter, but psychologically speaking, if one is given the choice to view content that may stir controversy, one will feel like s/he made an independent choice and that will increase the probability of the person taking responsibility for that choice.
If anyone else has an idea on how to improve a situation as this in relation to technology, power of a message, and cultural communications, I’d love to hear your comments!