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Censorship on the internet

Spotted this on Dirty Tricks

Dirty Tricks: Microsoft Helps China Stifle Freedom of Speech

Microsoft Helps China Stifle Freedom of Speech

USA Today

Corp. has shut down the Internet journal of a Chinese blogger that
discussed politically sensitive issues, including a recent strike at a
Beijing newspaper.

It appears that Microsoft is getting some flack for shutting down a blog which the Chinese government took a dislike to, freedom of speech is very important - but In this instance, as the Microsoft Blog service in question was actually hosted in China, I dont see how they had much choice.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

The service is in China, so they have no choice but to obey local laws in that case, it would be a different ball game if the blogger had registered the blog on the US or UK sites, and I wonder if Microsoft would have taken the same decision in that instance?

Personally I dont agree with the way things are censored over there, but I dont live there, so dont have first hand experience of the issue, Im only going on what I have read.

However to me, the mere fact that a government can close down any site that disagree’s with its views makes me wonder about the way things are ran over there. In fact, the censorship alone tells me more about a country than any blog criticising a governement ever would. It makes me think the government in question is either a bully, or very insecure, either way they can’t take it when someone speaks their mind, if the person is not in agreement with their policies. I could be wrong, they may have very good reasons for what they do, Im sure Hitler thought he had good reasons for acting the way he did, Sadam Hussein probably thought he had good reasons for keeping his opposition silent. But is it right? To not allow people to question what is going on in their own country, or even to report on it?

But what can a governement have to fear from individuals writing words? Surely everyone is entitled to their opinion, or else they become slaves, living in fear of speaking a word out of turn.

But it is their country and they can do what they please, whether their people like it or not by the looks of things. I dont know how their political system works over their, but Im guessing people cant vote them out, or they would have done so by now. I also wonder if china is censoring peoples opinions even if they dont live in china? Is this being censored? Are the ponderings of someone in the UK getting hidden from the people of china, or is it only the chinese themselves that cant write what the feel? What do the majority of people over their actually think about this issue, is it a non issue to most of them? Or is it something of great concern, but as they are not allowed a free voice, people dont know its of concern?

The funny thing is, by censoring the blog in question, they have brought about worldwide attention to how they operate, and that has probably done a lot more damage to the publics perception of China than that blog ever could have done.

Go figure.

At least in most of the world, censorship like this is not a issue, yet…. But everyone does need to keep an eye out to make sure it does not creep in slowly, the internet is a global community, and politicians are often written about online - I bet not all of them like that, and I would not be suprised if they want to change the laws to make sure people cant speak freely at some point in the future.

But thats just a possibility, it may never happen, unlike in some countries where it is already happening.

What do you think? Should people be allowed to blog, report news and speak freely? Or is it ok to for the few to control the many?


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