What Does Free Speech Mean as the Internet Becomes More Global?

Posted on: by Michael Tringe

With the horrible shooting in France happening this week – do we truly live in era when we can say what we want? Are voices being silenced by intolerant violence?

After teaching English for three years in Morocco – I have a deep love of the country, its people, and the culture. But I distinctly remember one day in particular, well after 9/11, when students seemed fixated on negative media images of violence.

It was that day that I vowed to start a film program. To create opportunities for these students to have their own voices. Their own perspectives. And to tell their own stories.

I’ve never been more proud of what we discovered during that class. The images that the students were screening were totally unique and their own – and it inspired me to apply to film school myself to continue teaching this incredible medium that allows for freedom of expression.

I remember my student Karim – who during English class, felt very shy. It was rare that he said much – but when he was handed a camera, you couldn’t stop him. He was really a talented visual storyteller – and I remember thinking the day he turned in his final assignment, that he found his voice.

Karim is still making videos – in fact – he has his own YouTube channel and website – and is more prolific than I ever would have imagined. It is with this hope that I remember the power of the camera to tell and share stories from different perspectives, and the importance of spreading technology and education to allow multiple perspectives to be heard.

Some would say the democratization of media making and the spread of social media has become too fragmenting, making for even more conflict in the world. But I believe that media is a force for good – and that we must continue teaching people how to share their own stories.

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Written by Michael Tringe

Mike Tringe earned his MFA in Film Production from USC and has worked at Creative Artists Agency Film Sales (Paranormal Activity, Black Swan), Vuguru, Michael Eisner's multi-platform studio, (The Booth at the End (Hulu), Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Snag), Little Women Big Cars (AOL), and Blip Networks (300 million monthly views, Smosh, Annoying Orange, Nostalgia Critic).

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