Historically, it has been a common trait amongst bad leaders to try and keep any negative attitudes towards their governments from influencing the general public. Dictators have struggled to keep the peoples voices quiet, often using violence and implementing totalitarianism. It should be acknowledged that this goes against what should be the framework of a government; a leader is meant to be the representation of a nation’s voices; leaders are meant to convey the messages of the people and not the opinions of their own selfish desires.
Past presidents like Hitler of Germany, however, were excellent at gaining control of the media and manipulating the people into trusting his ideals and Nazi propaganda- all this in an attempt to hide his real work- persecution of the Jews. Extremists like Stalin of the USSR, went as far as dictating what was written in novels, demanding that all works of text described him in a positive manner as well as calling on artists to solely paint him in praise of his “greatness”. These rules that Stalin instilled in the creative industries caused some artists and authors to commit suicide; choosing death over losing their freedom of self-expression.
Sometimes people in power forget to learn lessons from past mistakes that could ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Presidents in the 21st century have ripped pages out of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin’s books, for example, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak banned the use of social media networking sites after protests began in January 2011, but Egyptian civilians were more than ready to risk their lives; continuing to blog, tweet and Facebook about the situation in Egypt. So Mubarak went a step further and banned the use of the internet but according to news24 “Davos – The United Nations chief said Egypt’s decision to cut internet access ahead of planned protests goes against the democratic principles of freedom of speech and freedom of association”. Indeed this is the case of Mubarak exercising his power to prevent the people from speaking freely against the government. This is oppression.
In the case of the controversial topic that is WikiLeaks and the leak of classified USA documents, it is arguable that American politicians, such as Sarah Palin, have abused their power by insisting that founder Julian Assange is hunted down by the US government and treated as an anti-American terrorist. Furthermore Palin has added that “the activist website should have its financial assets frozen just as we do to individuals who provide material support for terrorist organizations…” “…cyber tools should be used to permanently dismantle WikiLeaks”. What Palin is neglecting to admit is that governments that fail to inform the nation of the whole truth remain vulnerable to whistleblower organizations such as WikiLeaks.
Where there is no corruption, there is little need for secrecy. Politicians like Palin should not have a right to oppress organizations and individuals by calling for their arrest or murder, simply because they are against secrecy in the government. It is imperative that oppressive governments renounce oppression as a way of silencing nations, and instead opt for actively listening to the needs of the people responsible for voting them into power.