Thursday, January 26, 2012

censorship by stealth

The biggest peril to freedom of speech today comes from corporations that are willing to cave in to pressure from lobby groups and introduce self-censorship.

While it’s true that leftist governments, such as the current Australian government, are determined to do all they can to crush dissent and prevent freedom of speech the fact is that government censorship is at least relatively open and therefore easier to oppose.

Censorship by stealth in the form of self-censorship by media outlets is more insidious and much harder to fight against. And while the mainstream media has for decades been keen to toe the politically correct line the danger today is that the internet will go the same way.

This is a danger that conservatives have been slow to recognise. The left-wing bias of sites like wikipedia is potentially a greater threat than the left-wing bias of the dinosaur media like the New York Times, The Guardian and the Fairfax press in Australia.

An equally serious threat is that internet corporations, despite their brave talk on the subject of SOPA, will tamely submit to government censorship, or even the mere threat of it. The opposition to SOPA was driven mainly by the fear that it might cost them money. If it had been simply a matter of principle I seriously doubt that they would have cared.

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