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Should the internet be censored?

2016.12.09
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Janice: I have no idea why violent magazines are banned for children but violent websites are not. What is the rationale behind banning a book but not a website which has exactly the same content?

Andrew: Do you really want the government to ban ‘bad stuff’ from the internet? You know what – you are effectively empowering the government to censor the internet?

Janice: Hang on! I think that reasonable censorship is necessary especially in the information era. People are overwhelmed by the information on the internet and there is no guidance whatsoever.

Andrew: Okay, let’s focus on apolitical violent websites. When you screen internet content and fi lter out all the ‘bad infl uences’, does that mean adults will also be affected?

Janice: Some form of control is needed if you were to censor the internet in a good way. The easiest is to set up a registration system just like our identity card. A login system would be needed and users would have to log in using their unique, government-issued, login details.

Andrew: Do you genuinely believe that it is the government’s duty to stop children from abusing the internet? Don’t parents have a role?

Janice: Not all parents have the knowledge or time. This is why the government is there to offer quality and justified censorship. It’s just like banning pornography, gambling or cigarette sales to children.

Andrew: I am not comfortable at all with giving more power to the government. Who knows if one day it won’t ban content arbitrarily?

Key arguments (Andrew)

1. It is the parents’, not the government’s, job to see that children use the web responsibly.
2. Granting more power to the government is not a wise move.


Key arguments (Janice)

1. Just like books and magazines, the internet should also be regulated or censored.
2. The government should provide a safe cyber environment.

Glossary

censorship 審查
filtering 過濾
great firewall 網絡防火牆
copyright 版權
search engine 網絡搜尋器
freedom of speech 言論自由

Did you know?

Do not confuse the idea of internet censorship with the copyright amendment bill. Internet censorship refers to the banning of certain websites under certain rules while the copyright bill focuses on the protection of the copyright of those who own digital content.

The copyright bill was dubbed the Internet Article 23 mainly due to the fear that the authorities would arbitrarily target people who produce derivative work or parodies of protected digital content without consent.

Questions

1. Whose side are you on in the imaginary conversation? Andrew’s or Janice’s?
2. Why would the government censor the internet?
3. Who decides what should be censored?
4. Should the government issue a unique login account and password to everyone?

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