Friday, March 02, 2007

Good Idea Coonan

I read in Crikey today that communications minister Helen Coonan has put forward the brilliant idea that all media in Australia should be classified in a scheme similar to that currently used for films. This includes newspapers, magazines, books and of course the Internet.

This idea has several problems, the main one philosophical, other logistical and jurisdictional. The main objection to this is that this censorship, which violates the principle of freedom of speech. Requiring every book, magazine, newspaper and website to be classified before publication is a massive act of prior restraint.

Logistically, this is a nightmare which would require a massive increase in the staff of the department. The number of books, magazines, newspapers and websites published dwarfs the number of films and games released each year, with a frequency and speed that a government department would be hard pressed to keep up with.

Finally there is the issue of jurisdiction on material published on the Internet. If I use an American service (oh, for example, Blogger) to host a blog that I write in Australia, am I required to submit it for classification, and how about the reverse situation. What if someone visits Australia and writes a few posts for there blog based in England. Others can come up with more convoluted situations that can be used to muddy the water and show how this cannot be implemented cleanly, clearly, fairly, and efficiently.

End Post
Writing time: 11 minutes
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Current media: The Daily Show

1 comment:

Hewhoblogs said...

I'm pretty sure it won't happen. Scary thought though.