Wednesday, September 24, 2008

State controlled Internet?

I vaguely remember hearing about this a few years ago but it has reared its ugly head today.

The Labour Government says, "it is moving to plug loopholes which have opened up in media".

We have heard of Helen Clark's antipathy to the media in the past, when they dare to critique her, so I am more than a bit worried about Labour's motives:

But initial consultation has shown more support for having two "converged" regulators, one dealing with economic and access issues, and the other responsible for social/cultural issues such as content.

"Cultural and social issues such as content".

What the hell does that mean?

When you combine the above with this below things start getting a little scary:

Government decisions will also determine whether broadcasters who also put news and other content on the internet should have to meet the same broadcasting standards, and whether those should be extended to other content providers.

It is scary because when we look at how badly Labour has written legislation over the last 9 years we know that much of that legislation, like the Electoral Finance Act, you could drive several Mac semi trucks through the holes in them.

Meet the same broadcasting standards of content on the internet as in mainstream broadcasting?

That sounds like censorship to me and as a blogger that has me worried.

Labour have already clamped down on criticism of them during an election year with the Electoral Finance Act and that has already had deleterious effects on websites on the net and as the Electoral Commission has said "had a chilling effect on freedom of speech."

Labour don't like criticism, their official taxpayer funded Labour Party Blog, The Standard, shuts down dissenting debate at will and censors some contributors, and I fear that this proposed "plugging of loopholes" by passing legislation to regulate content on the net will have the same modus operandi as Labour's Blog.

It leaves me with a chill down the spine.

It isn't practically necessary, but it seems politically necessary to Labour because I fear, once again, that they want to shut down democratic debate.

c Political Animal 2008

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