I will be interviewed by 2UE’s George and Paul tomorrow morning about the dangerous proposal to globalise state censorship.
You can listen to the interview live online at 7.15am tomorrow morning: https://www.talkinglifestyle.com.au/show/george-and-paul/
Old school Sydney-siders can turn the dial to 954AM.
In my weekly column on the global censorship debate, I wrote:
Internet platforms are developing methods to shut down fake news and delete content deemed offensive. A YouTube Contributors Program rewards users who flag “inappropriate content”. Facebook has employed a team of 10,000 people to “assess potentially violating content”. Its head of global policy management, Monica Bickert, said Facebook was working in partnership with other companies to develop a shared list of flagged content. When one company flagged content as hate speech, for example, the others would follow suit.
The proposal to censor so-called hate speech is problematic. While censoring incitement to violence is justifiable, the consequence of banning speech deemed offensive is not. Pakistan recently asked Facebook and Twitter to find and report people for insulting Islam. The Associated Press reported that Pakistani authorities had identified 11 people for questioning. Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment. Facebook offered the rather limp reply that government requests were reviewed with the goal of protecting users’ privacy. Under Pakistani law, blasphemy is punishable by death.
The Pakistani case highlights the problem with empowering government regulation of the internet. The public is right to be wary about it. A majority of respondents in 32 of 38 countries surveyed by PEW believed people should use the internet without government censorship. A median of 50 per cent rated freedom on the internet “very important”.
Many states and IT companies are assuming a punitive, censorious approach to internet freedom. Executive Chairman of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, has proposed an alternative system … where Facebook “truly recognises the investment in and the social value of professional journalism” by paying a carriage fee for trusted publishers.
We are entering a new stage in the information age where mass communication and the open market of ideas have produced unintended consequences …