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On The Flip Side
by Michael Munger




Censorship: Canada Sets The Example For The World!
May 25th, 1999

Last week, the government of Canada refused to censor content on the Internet. This came through the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), a federal government organization.

Despite requests from parents and groups throughout the country, the Canadian government told the public that it has no intention to restrict content accessible on the Internet. The CRTC said that the Net could not afford censorship. It grows so much that to censor it would harm the expansion possibilities of a young and vigorous industry. In addition, the Internet can to do this itself with filtering software and self-control. Commentators added that it is virtually impossible for a government to do anything about the issue anyway.

This was a more than welcome announcement to the Internet community when it made the news on television.

This decision means a lot. With this refusal to apply any kind of censorship on the Internet, the government of Canada makes a bold move and gives the example to the rest of the world. Freedom of speech and the "wild" aspect of the Net make it unique and partly explains why it is so attractive.

I agree 100% with the CRTC's decision. As I said, this is an important move from the Canadian government. Too many people and organizations want to put their hands on the Internet and strangle it with the traditional means of censorship.

I believe that the Internet should remain as wild and free as possible because its accessibility allows the ordinary citizen to play a role in a new community. Of course, there is porn, hate, and other material that many find offensive. However, there is also software like SurfWatch for parents who want to control their kids' access. The Net is capable of self-policing and it is important to preserve it as it is.

This new online media is the future. We should not crush it with our old habits. I cannot understand this phobia, this fear of the Internet by some in our society. People who blame all the problems of the world (like the Littleton killings) on things like violence in video games or information on the Internet are ridiculous to me. It is much easier to make the Internet a scapegoat to blame because it is young, wild, and offers more freedom. It is much easier than to admit how responsible we are because we do not offer our kids the education and care they deserve.

Censorship and the Internet do not mix, no matter what people will say. The government of Canada cleared the path, and the rest of the world should follow its initiative.

We should not be afraid of what we do not know and cannot control. Otherwise, we are in a sad state of mind.

Your comments are welcomed.

Michael Munger is a French Canadian living in Montreal. He discovered the Mac in 1994 while studying journalism, the profession he loves and practices. He also studied history and communications. In addition to his work at The Mac Observer, he authors the iBasics tutorial column at Low End Mac, and cofounded MacSoldiers in 1998.

You can find more about him at his personal Web site.

You are welcome to send me your comments or you can post them below.

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