[WSIS CS-Plenary] Balancing Free Speech
j.a.k.cave at warwick.ac.uk
Fri Oct 15 09:41:51 BST 2004
Thank you for your comments. It seems to me that your analogy is imperfect
on two counts. The first is the 'dangerous speech' analogy. Leaving aside
the issue of whether targeted speech is more or less likely to cause cause
injury than causing a panic, the fact remains that taking down the servers
in no way resembles cordoning off the theatre to keep the culprit from
escaping. It also does not prevent the escape of any potential witnesses.
This is a virtual space, remember? All it does is to create the "impression
of repression" which, I would submit, is a pretty loud cry of "fire!"
Second, the incendiary impression given by the fact that the 'victims' were
Republican delegates to a convention that has long since finished is
multiplied by the Sinclair Broadcast Group's intention to pre-empt 60 local
stations for what is by all accounts a piece of anti-Kerry propoganda on
the eve of the election. As one of the US FCC Commissioners puts it:
>FCC COMMISSIONER COPPS CRITICIZES SINCLAIR CORPORATE DECISION TO PREEMPT
>LOCAL STATIONS FOR POLITICAL BROADCAST
>Commissioner Michael J. Copps reacted to reports that Sinclair Broadcast
>Group will preempt more than 60 local stations across the country to air
>an overtly political program in the days prior to the Presidential election.
>Copps stated: "This is an abuse of the public trust. And it is proof
>positive of media consolidation run amok when one owner can use the public
>airwaves to blanket the country with its political ideology -- whether
>liberal or conservative. Some will undoubtedly question if this is
>appropriate stewardship of the public airwaves. This is the same
>corporation that refused to air Nightline's reading of our war dead in
>Iraq. It is the same corporation that short-shrifts local communities and
>local jobs by distance-casting news and weather from hundreds of miles
>away. It is a sad fact that the explicit public interest protections we
>once had to ensure balance continue to be weakened by the Federal
>Communications Commission while it allows media conglomerates to get even
>bigger. Sinclair, and the FCC, are taking us down a dangerous road."
So, while I applaud your clever argument, it seems to miss the main point
of the group's concerns - as I understand them.
At 04:30 15/10/2004, you wrote:
>I have not posted before; I have been an observer. I am coming from the
>view point of a technician (a programmer, DBA, UNIX admin, ...), who is
>now in law school, and I am a Citizen of the State of California in America.
>As I understand it, the indymedia servers were removed because they
>contained information targeted at a group of individuals, the delegates of
>the Republican National Convention. And, this information was used to
>harass people who were trying to go about the business of the Republican Party.
>I concur if that is the case...
>Say someone was to yell; "Fire!" in the middle of a theater, and as a
>result, there were people hurt. Further suppose the person was still in
>the general area. The police, in an attempt to find the individual for
>justice, cordoned off the place.
>The police did not want to take the chance that the individual's friends
>would let the friend go (due to a knowledge that the were police coming),
>so the police did not notify anyone. The law sealed off the area and went
>to looking and opened the area back up after that was done.
>Does that make sense?
>I posted a bit more detail here if anyone may be interested:
>Plenary mailing list
>Plenary at wsis-cs.org
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