Growing up and living in a society with censorship – challenges and lessons

8 November 2012 - A Workshop on Openness in Baku, Azerbaijan


There are countries where the state is heavily restricting the people's access to information and limiting means of private and public communications. Some countries are universally understood to be under heavy censorship while many, either in truth or in defense, claim there is no problematic state intervention. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss deeply the social consequences censorship has based on moderator's question set and later audience discussion where we share our experiences.

We take in messages from people who have lived their lives under pressuring regimes and also from people who live in countries where they simply worry that the amount of censorship is increasing. We cover issues such as:

Is the stereotypic thinking of new Western countries not threatening freedom of speech true?
Why are many problematic countries clumped together?
What primary methods are there to overcome state censorship?
How does the attitude towards surveillance and censorship differ in different cultures and age groups?
How does censorship affect the world view of people who have lived all their lives under such a oppressive system?
Is it a sound worry that a country with a good previous track record on human rights can be become an oppressive place to live? How quickly can this change happen?

After mapping the real-life repercussions of censorship, we finally face the most important thing: what can we all learn from countries which have lived through a period of heavy restrictions to information so that we will not repeat their mistakes in IG?