Monday, October 31, 2005

Freedom of the Media on the Internet

I got back on Friday from a meeting in Macedonia on Freedom of the Media on the Internet. The OSCE's Representative on Freedom of the Media had a pleasingly robust position on Internet censorship: that governments should limit themselves to regulating content served from their own jurisdictions. Child pornography is already illegal around the world, and should be prosecuted in the jurisdiction where it is hosted. Other controversial content such as "hate speech" (blocked by order of French and German courts), "violent pornography" (being targetted by the UK government) and political debate (blocked by China, Saudi Arabia, and in many other countries) should not be filtered by ISPs or governments in other countries. You unfortunately all-too-often hear European supporters of freedom of expression push bans on anything that offends their world view. Meanwhile, I talked about how this filtering has been accomplished legally and technically in both the West and repressive states.

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