Who knows, maybe this is the last text by this author that you are reading here. It is always possible that the editorial board of “Blic” and the company that owns it cancels this column, under any explanation, they do not even have to give it. It would not be a censorship, but only the decision of the private media to edit its paper in the way that best suits its business interests, and the fired author would not have any moral right to mention “C” from censorship.
But how to restrain vanity and miss the opportunity to declare yourself a victim of that strongest pressure on the public view when such an opportunity has already presented itself to you. Today, for example, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs complains about censorship, because its “Sputnik” is allegedly persecuted in the Baltic states!? Yes, just like that. The Russian state complains about censorship, a state which has never had a free press in history, and it nurtures this rich tradition to this day, persecuting critical journalists and the media. And to make things even more comical, it seeks protection not for some professional media, but for its own channel of state propaganda, from the countries of the European Union, whose standards of freedom of expression are unattainable for most of the world, and especially for Russia.
Censorship also knocked on the door of the most powerful man on the planet, Donald Trump, at least that is what millions of his angry supporters say, but also many who really have freedom of expression at heart. Is censorship really the strongest force that overthrows the strongest in the world, or is he being overthrown by something much stronger and more influential. And that is the accountability for the public view which is uttered by the most powerful man in the system, the system which is used to the highest possible democracy for 250 years, including freedom of speech. He is overthrown by his opposition to this tradition, derived from the law, he is overthrown by the force that prevents his attempt to destroy the foundations of American democracy.
Trump’s swift removal from Twitter, Facebook and other social media has nothing to do with censorship. On the contrary, it is a democratic and legal action of these private companies, which thus protect the public space from violence and coups called by the head of state. If they had done the opposite and left Trump’s accounts open, they would probably have faced the law themselves tomorrow as accomplices in the attempt to violently overthrow the Constitution. For a long time, these companies defended themselves that they could not influence the messages that billions of people around the world post on their platforms, but for years they have been considered responsible for the content, because they have the ability to exclude messages of racism, hate speech and murder threats. If that is already the case, why would the President of America be an exception when he calls for and encourages violence, trampling on the constitution and coup.
Leaving Donald Trump’s Twitter account open would be the same as opening the doors of state television and radio to the coup plotters three or four decades ago in Africa to run their subversive operation for 24 hours, because, for God’s sake, you have to give everyone freedom of expression. The departing American president enjoys full freedom of speech, an army of journalists has been waiting for him in front of the White House for days, but he does not want that. In that case, he would have to answer questions, and they would not be pleasant. He longs to be alone, undisturbed, while he informs his 88 million readers via Twitter about his plans and ideas, as he has done for the past four years. There’s no more of that, but there is no censorship either.
There are protectors of Trump’s endangered freedom of speech in Serbia as well, even among prominent journalists and public figures. These are usually the same people who are asking the state to arrest digital Apis, who is insulting and making death threats to his political favorites through social networks. In essence, they are looking for something for Trump that they do not allow in their country. That social networks be a bulletin board of unlimited freedom, on which just about anyone can write just about anything that comes to mind and pass without consequences. When the same demon arrives at the door of their stars, the rules change and the police are asked to immediately arrest the virtual bully. Fortunately, such things have been resolved quickly so far, for example last May, when a man from Loznica was arrested for threatening to kill Dragan Đilas, Boško Obradović and some others from the opposition. If we follow the logic of Trump’s defenders, the real censorship was actually suffered by this man from Loznica, because the state acted against him, and only one private company acted against the American president. Of course, neither of them is a victim of censorship, and such a comparison is only a well-intentioned “return to reality“, where freedom exists only if it is accompanied by responsibility. If you forget about it under the illusion of endless democracy of social networks, they will remind you of that by closing your account. Or the law will knock on your door. Censorship will have nothing to do with it.