Censorship and Civility

It will come as no surprise that Guido has no intention of abiding by any Code of Conduct as advocated by Tessa Jowell yesterday. She wants the bloggersphere (sic) to be “OurSpace”, a public commons. Well here is the bad news Tessa, this online space is private property.

To be fair she was advocating self – censorship rather than state – censorship. Iran and China have blogger Codes of Conduct that are voluntary. If you insult religion or undermine the party you are volunteering to go to jail. One woman’s incivility is another blogger’s freedom of speech. It may not be to the taste of politicians or self-appointed arbiters of blogging protocol, but that is how it is, freedom of speech means you will find people saying disagreeable things in disagreeable ways.

Online rudeness and rowdiness are not a threat to democracy, blogging is not even a parody of democracy, it is a bit of software that allows everyone with an internet connection to publish online easily. That is it. The revolution will not be blogged, but the advance of the citizen journalist means that, hopefully “the truth” will be more likely to come out in the future. It is certainly harder for those in power to manipulate the media when the media is more horizontally dispersed because it includes thousands more independent sources. Some of which you will inevitably not like.

Today is World Press Freedom day. Bloggers are in jail around the world for insulting the state, religion and the dignity of their rulers. It can’t happen here can it?




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