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Thread: Internet Censorship: What do the Politician fear of ?

  1. #1 Internet Censorship: What do the Politician fear of ? 
    Forum Junior ArezList's Avatar
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    Hi all, one thing I don't understand when I read about the Chinese harsh censorship to its people.

    What is gonna happen if the internet is not censored? What's the big deal to let them say what every they want (exclude hate speech)??

    Does the Communist really think their power will be overthrown letting people watch YouTube?

    I'm mean..I'm living in Singapore, where there is also dictatorship and restriction on freedom of expression. Yet for two reasons, I don't feel being restrained at all. Not only, the gov. has really done a good job in governing the country, not so many things to question.

    They don't care a zip about what you say on the internet, but you'll be punished very very harshly, once you mean to organize some kind of protest or campaign to against them. SO, the people got the freedom yet they don't mess up with the gov...so far so good...Isn't is an applicable solution if the only reason for online censorship is the potential "inciting subversion" ?


    What makes politicians so fear about the internet in China or in Iran, etc...

    Any historical examples?


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  3. #2  
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    Not sure there are any internet based examples of the government loosing control, but there certainly many examples of writings being a huge part of disrupting governments. As one example during the American Revolution, "Of Common Sense," the a very popular little pamphlet by Thomas Pain was arguably the most important writing in turning the America against the British government.


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    Forum Ph.D. Cat1981(England)'s Avatar
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    A good book to read on this very subject would be, China - Fragile Superpower. The author describes how "the more developed and prosperous the country becomes, the more insecure and threatened they feel" (the government).

    When you consider that the country has been divided many times in its history and is currently divided into the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, as well as having many groups that would like to see their provinces gain independence given half a chance. Another issue to consider would be China's historically centralised culture, its currently centralised economy and political system.

    When you take that into account it's hardy surprising that there would be an attempt to control, limit and centralise intellectual freedoms and expressions.
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    Forum Freshman Rickdog's Avatar
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    Internet, my friend is a relatively very new tool of comunication, but since its appearence, our world has changed dramatically. Through it, the borders of local frontiers were almost literally erased from existence, allowing everybody to establish comunication with any body around the world, so all sorts of information that once were deprived, now became available to everybody with access to it. Before its appearance the best sources of information were probably only Television, Radio, Newspapers and of course books, which were all limited to the existence of the required elements to be able to use them. So in the past for a restrictive government, if you controlled these sources, the possibility of the great mass of people in the country to hear or listen new ideas were very limited, and therefore as a government, you had control over almost the whole situation. If the government wanted the people to believe a lie, since you had control of what to publish or show, it was easy to do so, as it is now days in China, Iran, and everywhere, where there isn`t existence of internet. Once the free information that the world can offer through internet in this case, becomes available to everybody, the government looses that control, and it becomes very dificult to mantain a lie, and the trust or confidence of the people.

    I`m going to go a little off-topic here, but whatever, if I deserve a ban, well good for it, but I must say what I feel about it.

    I also had the unfortunate chance to live through part of a dictatorship (Pinochet), and in those first years, we believed all the shit that the government wanted us to believe, we were so stupid that we even backed up that government in everything and accepted as a complete truth everything the government told us, and everybody who oposed it, was considered a communist. When the government talked to us about our prosperity, wealthiness, social security and education, we believed we were in paradise. (Boy, were we ignorant). When the first news told from mouth to mouth appeared as there was abuses against human rights, murders and dissapearing of people, at first we thought that they were lies by inescrupulous people, since all our sources of information didn`t say nothing about them. But whenever there is a lie, sooner or later you find out the real truth, and when the truth reached me (it doesn`t reach everybody at once), I became a communist ( , for the standards of my country back then). (btw, some never reached the truth and even till now they believe it was a great government. Opinions still differ about the issue, but everybody has its own truth)

    I really wish there would have been internet in those days, to have been able to avoid all the suffering by lots of my fellow country men, but we didn`t........
    (end of the off-topic)

    I sincerily hope that the dictatorship where you live in, isn`t anything likely to the one we Chileans, had to live through (the lucky ones who made it......).
    :wink:
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Rulers have various means to control (or orient) the population, the mechanisms can be very crude and overt(old style totalitarian, centralize control style) or very sophisticated and covert (systemic orientation style)('None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free' -Goethe). You also have the principle of 'bread and circuses' to sedate the population as well as religion.

    In a western style population orientation system, you want people to beleive they are free and marginalize the effects of the freedoms they have on the etablishment's power while using propaganda to channel public opinion(You can lookup Chomsky's 'manufacturing consent'). In a totalitarian regime, if someone stands on a soap box and shouts against the government a quick kock on the head and a trip to jail solves the issue(small scale censorship, but it will be apparent the people arent free), where as in a western style regime the propaganda apparatus is such that it doesnt even matter at all if someone shouts on a soap box as he will be marignal and irrelevant, theres no need for apparent micromanaged censorship(and people will not be aware they arent as free as they think).

    China might be migrating towards a western style population orientation but isnt there yet, they may also evaluate that opening up the internet provide Nato intelligence with more vectors of infiltration and subvertion;

    In Iran its reasonable to suspect that MI6/CIA/Mossad has used intenet social networking to support the attempted color revolution. In the 50s the CIA wanted to replace the democratically elected Mossadeq with the Shah dictatoship, as part of setting up the Coup d'Etat the CIA killed iranians in terrorist attacks and framed the government in addition to stirring mass protests etc. In a modern context of a similar operation the internet would be effective to stir up the people with agents provocateurs and shills, and if a Nato backed assassination of an innocent girl can be staged or one person gets shot out of the blue without government having anything to do with it, instead of distributing leaflets as they did in the 50s to denounce the assassination they had done but frame the government they now use the internet for transmission and propaganda circus to help stir unrest and revolt (even if americans get shot by the thousands each year)

    In the west internet freedom is denounced and seen by some of the establishment as a threat because people access information that used to exist but was not accessible nor widely distributed and thus safely marginal. The people's ability to act upon information however remains relatively marginal. Most people never even heard of the builderberg meetings a few years ago, now many know but cant do anything about it. If over half of americans want a new independant investigation of 911 and even suspect the gov let it happen or made it happen, it doesnt change anything there wont be one unless heres massive upheaval which is unlikely. If the majority vote for the troops to come home, once in congress representatives do nothing and cheer the surge while people are powerless for 4 years. Obama promises change and continues wars etc. So the information does not allow the atomized left-right quibbling population to do anything about it, its just that many now start to see the BS propaganda by both the government and the Media they thought was true all along for what it is.
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    Forum Junior ArezList's Avatar
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    good stuff icewendigo.


    so...Can i allege that freedom on the internet won't bring any organic change to the acting regime, in a sense censorship is more about a propaganda to orient the public rather than government in fear of any potential subversion ?
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    China is not the only country who fear the internet. The United States government is trying to censor the internet as well by turning it into a form of television where people have to subscribe to certain websites. That is why the battle for net neutrality is so important. For the most part, the people have been able to defend the internet from these kinds of intrusions and censorships. But the people must remain diligent. The internet is the most ultimate tool of the people ever created.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArezList
    good stuff icewendigo.


    so...Can i allege that freedom on the internet won't bring any organic change to the acting regime, in a sense censorship is more about a propaganda to orient the public rather than government in fear of any potential subversion ?
    I disagree that internet will not bring change to the regime in China. The internet has been shown to be a powerful tool for democratic movements. It is not that I disagree with icewendigo. Propaganda from the government is powerful method for subversion. The internet can play role in that subversion, but the internet has provided new opportunities for movements to fight against the government in various countries. For example, during the WTO meetings in Seattle, the protest that ultimately shut down the meeting was organized using the internet. As well, in Myanmar, the Burmese people were able to release footage of protests. It brought international attention to the oppression of the military dictatorship while giving the people confidence to push for democracy. They were ultimately defeated but showed promise and the power of the internet as a weapon of the people.
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