The Web isn’t like movies

Clive Hamilton, “public intellectual”, has been banging on about how wrong wrongitty wrong anti-censorship advocates are. Clive has been stampily regurgitating the mantra of the censors:

“I have heard no one argue that films, television, books and magazine should be a free-for-all. But somehow all of this goes out the window when it comes to the internet.”

There’s an obvious rebuttal to this that even Clive should be able to understand:

“The World Wide Web isn’t like ‘films, television, books, and magazines’. The World Wide Web is like films, television, books, magazines, speeches, lectures, meetings, soapboxes, panels, parties, coffee klatches, crafting circles, political rallies, noisy pubs, arts soirees, jam sessions, sports gatherings, fan conventions, and millions upon millions of people conversing with each other and showing each other stuff.

Unless you think the Government should be mandatorily and automatically filtering each and every one of these things, your analogy fails. Next?”


In other censorship news, two children’s rights groups have spoken out against the proposed Government filters. In “Children’s welfare groups slam net filters“, the SMH reports that Holly Doel-Mackaway from Save The Children, the largest independent children’s rights agency in the world, said that the filter system is “fundamentally flawed”. James McDougall, director of the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, agreed:

“This is called a child protection measure yet the vast majority of all serious child abuse does not occur on the internet, it occurs in the home,” said McDougall.

“I take issue with the minister’s perspective that children are themselves the danger in a sense that we have to make this decision for them because they are not capable of making it for themselves – I think there’s very little evidence to support that and plenty of evidence to show that children are responsible decision makers given the skills and information.”

Categories: Politics, technology

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10 replies

  1. Yet another failure to see that new media simply does not follow the model of old media. Clive Hamilton’s been a perspicacious critic on some other issues in the past, it’s a shame to see him failing to see things clearly this time around.

  2. I am not a Dr. Hamilton fan. I’m getting flashbacks to that utterly egregious Pria Viswalingam “Decadence” series he contributed to. I do not like those flashbacks.
    He is not in this instance even rising to the level of good faith in discussion, so I can’t be bothered.

  3. Unless you think the Government should be mandatorily and automatically filtering each and every one of these things, your analogy fails. Next?

    Exactly. And all of those places are subject to the law so that if there is sufficient evidence of illegal activity the police can intervene. They don’t (I hope ) get to routinely bug those places on the off chance that there may be something illegal going on. The money would be better spent on genuine child protection and publicising the existing free filter.

  4. Oddly enough, I do think that the censorship of books, magazines and television in this country goes too far in the wrong direction, as well. We censor any mention of sex, and have this absolute horror of pornography, yet violence is allowed to play almost unrestricted.
    Meg Thornton’s last blog post..Prompts and Playing

  5. I have more respect for some one like Hamilton, who at least brings up the issue of pornography as a bad thing than the whining libertarians who can pass the filter in thirty seconds. Yes, the internet filter is rly rly stupid but the debate about pornography needs to be had in the public sphere and treated like a serious, complex issue far beyond the cries of “free speech” and “What would Jesus do?”
    Meg Thorton, I have never known a world that had a horror of pornography. My entire life I’ve seen women on display as sex objects. I wish I could travel to your universe.

  6. I have to say to Meg that, that’s not entirely true. as an animation student we have to take a scriptwriting course every year. This year when one of my classmates wrote a piece of circumstantial violence (the protagonist threw a ball in anger at a wall, it rebounded, took out a market stall marquee and knocked out his rival accidentally.) and the discussion of that scene revealed a couple of interesting tidbits about Australian censorship.
    Did you know what censors wont allow a scene featuring someone attacking some0ne else with a kitchen knife during the hours that kids watch TV? ritualistically sacrificing someone to a demon lord with a ceremonial daggers that’s alright, hell… Xena’s perfectly OK. but attacking someone with a kitchen knife? even in self defense? That’ll apparently “give them ideas.”
    I’m not saying that violence is restricted as much as other themes, just that the restrictions make just as much sense as the rest of it.

  7. Very nicely said.
    I think this is the most pithy rebuttal of Clive Hamilton’s central fallacy that I’ve come across. Well done.
    Over to you Clive…

  8. I agree with Syd – well done!


  1. Beyond The Fringe » Blog Archive » Hamiltonia takes on the Other
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