Social censorship

Social censorship

: Well, here’s a dark side to social software: The Chinese government set up a web site to get the citizens to report and rat out Internet sites so the regime can turn around and censor them.

Here’s a South China Morning Post report. Here are some screenshots of censored sites. Says blogger Adam Morris:

With the record the PRC has on internet dissidents, it

  • PRIM

    Yeah, that sounds about right. Fining broadcasters that publish, in violation of express law, filth that most of us don’t want, or want our children, to be buried in, EQUALS jailing and physical abuse of political and religious dissidents of a totalitarian regime. This same equivalence is seen in the assertion by Kennedy, Gore, Biden, MoveOn.Org and Soros that Abu Ghraid today EQUALS Abu Ghraid under Saddam.
    Justice and wisdom supposedly entail the ability to draw distinctions.

  • Well, it certainly does sound like the same censorship tactics to me. The penalties are different, but the strategies are the same.
    Now, it may be that what the broadcasters are broadcasting is in violation of express law. So what? Most of what the PRC is punishing people for is also in violation of express law.
    Now you may not like what the broadcasters are broadcasting, but you have many tools available to you to protect your sensitive eyes from what you consider filth. In any case, I’m not sure why, given that we have freedom of speech, why we should punish those whose speech we don’t like. Isn’t that what censorship is all about?
    I’m sure that if we had a poll in China, even a legitimate one where the people were guaranteed anonymity for their answers, we would discover that many of the Chinese people supported the censorship laws. Many of them have so ingrained the government’s propaganda that they believe that criticism should be illegal. Does that make the censorship laws just?
    It is also not clear to me that all that many people don’t want that sort of speech in broadcasts. After all, if it weren’t popular, why would they broadcast it?

  • Andy Freeman

    Jarvis gets excited by the FCC, a federal agency which regulates media speech, because some of the media folks who like to rant about boobies might feel constrained in making political speech.
    Jarvis isn’t bothered by the FEC, an agency which regulates political speech by not-media.
    Question – is Jarvis concerned about boobie-talk or media speech? (He clearly isn’t concerned about political speech.)

  • Urako

    Grow up.
    The pre-pubescent humor of Stern is not protected speech anymore than a perverted adult telling elementary school children dirty jokes is. Any society must have SOME limits. Just because your boy is not loved by everyone the way you love him doesn’t make it a free speech problem.
    Personally, I’m sick of tuning past Stern while driving my daughter somewhere just in time for some filth to spew forth.
    After putting down Stern I will now say, embarassingly, I like his humor.
    But, I’m honest enough to admit (maybe since having a child) that it doesn’t belong spewing forth from my car radio, especially in the daytime.
    And don’t try that, “you can turn it off”.
    Your wanting to censor my ability to have my radio turned on just to protect my daughter is worse than anything the government is doing.
    You are the censor.

  • One remark on the viability of this system:
    Looks to me like an organized spamming effort by a few could make the input from many unusable for the censors. Just flood the sites with bogus, governmental, or plainly benign sites.

  • Rootbeer

    PRIM, it’s funny that you should speak about “the ability to draw distinctions” when you yourself seen unable to distinguish between similarity and equivalency…

  • if the FCC wasnt up to no good, they would simply explain in writing what the difference is between what happened on Oprah’s show and what happened on Howard’s show.
    Defining the law and showing people where the line in the sand is, seems to me to be a reasonable request in this free society.
    Otherwise the FCC will continue to look like the dirty tool that they are being acussed of being.

  • Franky

    Any society that deems an hour or so a day of Oprah inoffensive obviously has no business dictating standards to anyone.
    Just hoping that Bush and all the others (“no I won’t turn the dial. I want no one else listening either”) get booted out this November and they can all crawl back to their temperance meetings.

  • Franky

    The more I brood on this subject, the more vexed I become.
    So in the week of the death of the great deregulator, Ronald Reagan (I was almost deafened amidst the “que dios le bendiga” emanating from Central America), conservatives are requesting greater federal regulation? over our airwaves? The environment we can just leave to the generosity of businesses, but God fobid that my 1 week old fetus hears Howard Stern.
    Fitting that in the week of the death of Reagan his heirs should not produce any logical or consistent arguments to support their latest collective panty-wetting.

  • Ah yes, more tasteful, considered commentary from this brood of Howard Stern fans. I am not surprised that no one so far has pointed out that the main reason comparing the FCC’s efforts to clean up broadcast filth in accordance with current statutes and China’s cracking down on free expression in order to obey its so-called “laws” is such a vile technique is because China’s government is a totalitarian dictatorship where there is no such thing as “freedom” of anything. For the final time, and then I give up Jeff and the rest of you as lost: THE FCC IS NOT TRYING TO PROHIBIT OR CONTROL ANY POLITICAL SPEECH BY HOWARD STERN OR ANYONE ELSE. Do any of you know the difference between political commentary and pornography?

  • Well, Andrea, I’ll try it one more time with you and IF YOU LIKE I, TOO, WILL SHOUT:
    Government must not decide what can and cannot be said. That is censorship. That is a latter-day violation of the First Amendment. Let me decide. Let the marketplace decide. But do not let government decide what can and cannot be said.
    And, in addition, when and if the government silences Howard Stern and others for whatever reason — and, yes, Clear Channel fired him only because of government action — then they also silence political speech.
    But political speech is not even the issue. Andrea.
    Free speech is.
    Speech is either free or it is not. The First Amendment is a clear absolute.
    The FCC’s actions are clearly unconstitutional and clearly dangerous. It is censorship just as China’s actions are censorship.

  • Well, Jeff, you didn’t understand a word I wrote. All I can say is, if you don’t like the laws the FCC is trying to enforce (decency laws re public broadcasting), then work to change or abolish those laws. But I suggest you find a more worthy champion than Howard Stern. The man is no victim; he will ride this so-called campaign of persecution to the top as always.
    And no one is stopping or thinking of stopping anyone from saying anything they please; they are stopping them from using certain taxpayer-regulated media to say it. If Stern feels so deeply about his criticisms of Bush or the antics of his lesbians or whatever it is he is into, let him write another book or buy into satellite radio or non-FCC-controlled cable tv access, or some other media where the FCC has no control. They won’t throw him into a dungeon.

  • Kim

    Proposed rules under the FCC and the FEC should concern eveyone not just Stern fans.
    In February, the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) proposed rules for enforcing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (“BCRA”), also known as the McCain-Feingold law. The implications of the rules could impair the free speech of all nonprofits. Under the proposed rules, nonprofit organizations that advocate for cancer research, gun and abortion restrictions or rights, fiscal discipline, tax reform, poverty issues, immigration reform, the environment, or civil rights or liberties – all these organizations could be transformed into political committees if they criticize or commend members of Congress or the President based on their official actions or policy positions.
    How about bloggers? How about bloggers who accept campaign blog-ads? Some of you have turned your blog into a business. Have you thought about how it will be applied to the blogsphere?
    “Have you ever thought about using your website to campaign for your favorite candidate? Or, perhaps, to urge the defeat of that congressional representative who has been ignoring your letters?
    Better think again.
    A couple years ago, Leo Smith of Connecticut decided he would use his business website to do just that

  • Angelos

    Andrea, do you know the difference between your OPINION and, well, anyone else’s?
    And you really believe that it should be legislatable? You’re delving into dangerous territory, but you’re blind to that now because your brand of bible-thumper is in power. Enjoy it while it lasts, because half these people will be in jail soon.
    Here are the three criteria for “obscene” speech:
    1) An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
    2) The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
    3) The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
    Typical mealy-mouthed government BS. Now, even you can accept that all of these are just OPINION.
    a) a few million people are laughing with Stern and enjoying their morning commute.
    b) a couple activist idiots are listening JUST SO THEY CAN COMPLAIN LATER
    c) a few million don’t like Stern, so actively avoid his show
    d) a few million could care less about Stern, but listen to music, or NPR, or right-wing talk
    e) a few million don’t listen to radio period (like me). It’s CD or nothing.
    In what f-ing world do you (b) and (c) people get off telling everyone else what they can’t listen to?
    A final, and Stern-free point: you only put yourself in danger when you ask the government to help you. The more power you give, the more they will take and abuse, then work on the next power-grab.
    Witness the Abu Ghraib abuses. The government actualy prepared memos as to how they can get away with torture!!! Wrap your easily-offended mind around that: your government concerns itself not with how it can do better for America and Americans – your government wants to beat people in clear violation of international law, so it spend time and taxpayer money on a legal defense, so it could THEN feel secure in committing the crime.
    Have you spoken up about that, Andrea et al?
    The danger in which they have placed future American POWs is astounding. Any principled global stance of the US will ever take has been rendered meanningless.
    But that’s not important. Stern may have talked about sex today.

  • Angelos

    More power to the government:
    “With the kidnapping of an American and threats to inflict on him the same degrading punishments seen at Iraq’s U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison, suspected al-Qaida terrorists appear to have unleashed a new tactic in their violent drive…”

  • Mike

    Didn’t this thread start off as a comparison about censorships between governments? It would be nice Jeff if you stopped looking at Stern as some sort of hero in a fight against government oppression.
    And Angelos, you need to come back in from the deep end. You act as if terrorists who would kidnap Americans were nice law-abiding individuals respectful of others’ rights before Abu Ghraib.

  • Angelos

    Yes it did Mike and the comparison led to discussion about what’s going on here. Pretty simple progression.
    Like it (or him) or not, Stern the the lightning rod, the bell-weather, etc. He is who tha government has chosen to make their poster child for “regulation.” So it fits that he is also the poster child for freedom of speech too. You must be able to understand that.
    Mike you need to get your head out of Bush’s ass.
    Over 70% of Abu Ghraib “guests” were guilty of nothing but being Iraqi.
    Have you read the torture memos? Are you not the least bit worried by how easily these lunatics will brush away and law or sense of decency when it gets in the way of their crusades?
    Have you seen Ashcroft and Rumsfled and Bush talk, and openly defy any attempt to achieve any transparency, any insight into their actions?
    Doesn’t it scare you that they are doing at home what their doing in Iraq? Shredding the Constitution, violating every law we have, stepping over any opposition, to achieve some f-ing lunatic utopia?
    Wake up.

  • Mike

    what scares me is the possibility that there are more lunatics out there like yourself that think the way you do. Your analogies and comparisons of our handling prisoners in Iraq to politics in America are ridiculous.

  • Angelos

    Actually, the comparisons are quite apt.
    No matter where the bone of contention, the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Ashcroft fustercluck use every devious method they can to hide their actions from view, act as if they are above reproach, that the media and the public have no right to question them.
    Laws, what laws? We don’t need to obey any laws – we’re the president!
    Mike, I’m glad you feel at peace with your decision to just drink their koolaid.
    I have some questioning to do. It’s my job as an American.