Archive for the ‘censorship’ Category

How many use real radio now?

January 5, 2009

Today on Twitter I found that a friend and colleague (Nic Suzor) was to speak on am radio “right now”. I had to quickly figure out where my old radio was, then messed around for a couple of minutes getting it to work as it has been a long time (and there was a line in – pulling that out did the trick). After the program I found out that Nic doesn’t even have a radio. Now I know Nic and I are not exactly alone in using the web for all our audio (except this one time). In fact I can only think of two or three people I know who still regularly use actual radios.

I wonder if this degree of change in media usage has dawned on the people attempting to architect the proposed ISP-level internet filtering to be trialled in Australia shortly.  That is what Nic Suzor was speaking against.

First, we have an enormous amount of audio data to push through the filter’s bottleneck. Second, by what means is the filter going to censor real-time audio? And last but not least, with this shift in audio consumption from radio to the web there will be censorship of society’s major audio communications medium. That has a distinctly totalitarian feel.

Perhaps we will all be buying CB radios again, if the censorship proposal is not defeated.


The terror of censorship

July 24, 2007

I live in Australia, where the Attorney General Philip Ruddock wants to enact a law whereby the Office of Film and Literature Classification must identify in advance the books, films, symphonies, news broadcasts, sitcoms and sermons that “might lead a person (regardless of his or her age or any mental impairment) to engage in a terrorist act”. He bases that on the shooting of Ronald Reagan by a crazy guy who was obsessed with Jodie Foster.

That’s like knowing in advance that J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” would lead to the assassination of John Lennon – which it did, via the delusions of a paranoid schizophrenic reader obsessed with that book and with Lennon. People have raised practical objections, but he says the Board can seek the help of psychiatry professionals if they need to.

The point Ruddock is missing (if he is genuine) is that people with mental health problems such as paranoid schizophrenia will incorporate whatever cultural material is to hand into their complex delusional systems. And, arguably, the Bible is the one that is most frequently encountered there. So that should be the first to go, in his great book-burning spree.