Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wikipedia, Australia and Censorship

I've previously discussed censorship of Wikipedia by Great Britain. It appears that Australia may be the next democracy to attempt to censor Wikipedia. Australia currently has a secret blacklist of websites which are censored. Nominally the list is to deal primarily with child pornography but no one can tell what precisely is one the list since it is secret. As with the websites censored by Great Britian, there is no clear system of oversight of what gets added to the list. Activists have attempted to show that additions to the list are arbitrary and poorly thought out. Recently, they succeeded in getting an anti-abortion website with graphic pictures of aborted fetuses added to the list. Moving on, the activists then added links to the website in various online fora, using it as an example of a how the list was running rampshod over peoples free speech rights. The Australian Communications and Media Authority responded by sending one of the online fora a nasty note telling them to take out the link or be subject to large fines and risk having their forum added to the list. Wikipedia in reporting on this ongoing controversy has linked to the blacklisted abortion website. The activists understand what this means:

"If ACMA blacklists their own Wikipedia page, well that says it all doesn't it? If they don't, that is a very, very strong reason to call them hypocrites for making vastly different responses to two sites linking to the very same material."
It should be interesting to see over the next few days how ACMA responds.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Seems to be veering toward this paradox http://xkcd.com/545/