When I say feared, I mean feared by those who advocate government control of free expression. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is visiting Australia, but the government there didn’t exactly welcome him with open arms.
For a brief moment at Melbourne Airport, he had his passport confiscated, then returned, then warned he would “lose it soon”.
Assange has been critical of Australia’s soon-to-be internet filtering scheme and brought embarrassment and ridicule to Australia’s government when Wikileaks published their” black list” of banned websites which shows the broad range of content to be prohibited.
He said such moves by the Government were not just damaging for the Australian people, as it was being used by other countreis to justify much harsher oppressive measures.
Indeed the degree of internet freedom schizophrenia exhibited by western democratic governments would qualify them for psychiatric commitment if it were committed by a single individual.
“How can we say China is wrong to have a national censorship system, the “great firewall of China”, for what they say is reasons of “national security” when we say having one for mere porn is justified,” he said.
Assange also had a few choice words for freedom-conflicted Steve Jobs:
Concerns have been raised over the process by which apps can be classified as suitable for viewing on the iPad.
Apple was forced last month to re-examine an application it had rejected – on the grounds it contained objectionable content – by US political cartoonist Mark Fiore.
It admitted it had erred in rejecting the app – but only after Fiore had won a Pulitzer Prize for his work.
“Centralised distribution by Apple of journalistic content, according to US laws and Apple’s profits, is obviously a journalistic own-goal,” Assange said.
Finally, Assange addressed a topic that I’ve had strong feelings about for years. If you want any kind of objective unfiltered news in the U.S., the last place you’re going to find it is on television which is where most people still look for it. Not only is the news reporting becoming increasingly biased and speculative, it is universally screened to remove content that challenges the coping skills of anyone beyond the third grade. In fact, they ceremoniously brag about their self-censorship as if they’re doing a public service, but they also know that viewers will go to the internet to get the same story without the editing.
When Iranian, Neda Agha-Soltan, was shot and killed last year, most network TV news initially refused to show the video unedited. Later, as it became apparent that people were going to the internet to see it, they relented and broadcast it with a strong warning of its graphic nature. It has become so routine for government and commerce to make themselves the sole arbiter of what’s good for people that the concept of truly free access to information totally confounds them.
He hoped one day to see a fundamental change in journalism, with news online presented in its raw form, allowing the audience to “inspect all angles”.
“Profit motives work against it, but if we can have the audience understand that most other forms of journalism are not credible, then it may be a forced move.”
Let’s hope that raw news will remain available online because, at this point in time, that is the only place it can be found. Will there be a lot of bad reporting mixed in with it? Of course! But people are a lot smarter that the mainstream media give them credit for. The reason people are flocking to the internet is because they’re being repelled by the bad smell they’re getting from more traditional news outlets.