Saturday, March 20, 2010

Censorship

"In general I am in favour of free speech but..."
Reader comment in response to an interview with one of the moderators of Encyclopedia Dramatica.

To me this person completely contradicted themselves in 10 words. You cannot be in favour of free speech while supporting any form of censorship. There are no 'buts' with freedom of speech - it's all or nothing.

Encyclopedia Dramatica has some of the most confronting stuff I’ve seen on the internet. Read an article about any minority group (or majority group for that matter) and it will be filled with every offensive stereotype you can imagine and more. But should you censor this stuff because it is highly confronting and mostly offensive? Cunt is another word for vagina, e=mc2, coke is black and bubbly and according to ED - niggers love fried chicken. These are all valid pieces of the human web of knowledge. Every last scrap of this information was generated in the mind of a human and even if you do censor them they still exist. To me this makes ED just as valid as Wikipedia. It’s what you choose to do with knowledge that makes the difference. Like the majority of humans on this planet, I don’t want to hurt anyone.

It’s likely that ED will be blacklisted under the new internet clean-feed that the Government wants to implement. Unfortunately it will be one of the many sites that will be blocked because it will be given a classification of “Refused Classification”. The government reasons that anything that you can’t buy on the shelves in Australia now (i.e. – has an RC rating), will be blocked on the internet with the clean-feed. So it kind-of sounds reasonable, except that pretty much everything that is rated RC isn’t even illegal in the first place. For those of you out there into ‘golden-showers’ (or anything remotely kinky), sorry… you’ll have to hunt that stuff down via illegal avenues if the government have their way.

Already we have a government telling us what we can and can’t see on our store shelves even though it’s not necessarily illegal. All this done under the guise of the “Australian Classification Board” - really, they should actually be called the “Australian Censorship Board”. Who in the government is making these rules? Why are we not being consulted? If we’re going to ban ED because of its offensive content, perhaps we should have banned the works of Einstein. After all he was the one who proposed e=mc2, and that was key to the creation of the atomic bomb. Where does it stop? That’s the problem with censorship – once you begin, it can never end.

Having been reading about this topic for several months I’ve come to the conclusion that censorship is bad for humanity. It shouldn’t exist at all. However, classification is a good thing, we should have an informative system (don’t get me started on the whole R+18 rating for games) so everyone knows what they will be seeing before they look. Obviously this isn’t always going to work but that’s life.

- Dogman

"History is full of people who out of fear, or ignorance, or lust for power have destroyed knowledge of immeasurable value which truly belongs to us all. We must not let it happen again." – Carl Sagan


I would say more about the internet filter but there are others who have done a much better job than I ever could have. I urge you to read the following:

The Internet Filter Explained
An Interview with an ED Moderator

11 comments:

  1. YES! Very few people know what this whole internet filter is about (me included), but the idea of censorship in any form is immediately something I am averse to.

    Isn't the old saying that we live in a free country? I can't fathom why the Australian government would even consider taking that first fatal step down the path of internet censorship. Aren't we a progressive country? Don't we cherish the freedoms we are born into, with our superior democratic government, so we don't suffer the opporession existing in countries like China where the government restricts people's freedoms much more openly?

    The internet is an amazing tool of evolution and information that naturally serves to destroy the boundaries that keep us separated. Like you said information exists when it is conceived and unless we are living in 1984 the information can't cease to exist.

    If I want to see two consenting adults piss on eachother, I'm going to see it. And if the demand exists, supply exists. If supply is legal then everyone is happy. If supply is deemed illegal then you create criminals and blackmarkets. I don't get it.

    Kevin Rudd is a fascist douchebag! Maybe in 10 years or so this site will be shut down for statements like that.

    Thanks for bringing it up and posting links. Gonna read them over

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  2. Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks first brought this idea to me. Since then, i have felt that same thing as you, Hamish, the undeniable nature of freedom. Fuck.

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  3. Also this website ED is awesome. Guess I should read it while I can

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  4. Wait, so are they actually going ahead with this RC thing?? I'm assuming they are, but what the fuck is wrong with them. Like Lee posted a little while ago about banning the baby app thing on iphone - if people are offended by something, then simply ignore it and move on with your life.

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  5. El Hamish for President LocoMarch 20, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Hamish for President!

    But more seriously, fuck censorship up is naive and pointless arse. Are we going anywhere? Because it feels like we just starting going backwards.

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  6. I don't know anything about this man, but I like the cut of his jiff - watch this.

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  7. Yeah that was a cool video, I had no idea what the first guy said, but the second guys answer burnt him bad.

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  8. He said: "Mr Pullman, the title of the novel seems to an ordinary Christian, to be offensive. To call the son of god a "scoundrel" is an awful thing to say."

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  9. oh ok, yeah I figured it was some smart-ass reporter comment about his book title. I'm going to watch it again now.

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  10. Hamish isn't the saying - "I like the cut of his jib"...fuckin idiot

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  11. I just heard that the filter is going to block a website that promotes euthanasia.

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