Before I start, take this post as a small update to this post. Quite a few things happened after that, and I’ll focus on that only. So if you want to read what I thought about all this, read that post.
After a major backlash The Ministry of Communications published two press releases. On the first press release, they claimed that they have reached an agreement with several over-the-top (OTT) service providers that they will perform a “self-censorship” in order to remove contents that are deemed “inappropriate”. The other press release stated their clarification on their findings on Tumblr, and more lengthy points which basically summarizes that they’re lifting their block on Tumblr.
Oh, goodie! This means we can now lower our pitchforks, go home and live another day, right? Not quite.
Let’s go back to that first press release, and the term “self-censorship”. After long stating that this whole Internet Positif is “borderline-censorship”, the big boys have finally stepped in, admitting that they are performing censorship. In fact they
pressured these services to filter out the contents of their website to remove content demed “inappropriate” by them.
And these companies lost by peer pressure. Because they actually threatened of blocking these websites should they not comply.
And moving on to the Tumblr fiasco. They did announce that they reversed the blocking Tumblr, as most local news sites announced. But I want to be skeptical, since the press release comes with some extra points that I find discomforting.
We have sent Tumblr a letter requesting them to comply with the “self-censorship” policy against pornographic content to accounts within the service.
Brilliant! They tried to censor Tumblr too. Whatever, what’s next?
Our panel are still holding follow-up meetings to evaluate how the self-censorship agreement could be enacted.
Okay, now. Here’s the part that worried me the most.
We know some of the web services out there are pretty firm on their stance against censorship. I’m afraid that if Tumblr didn’t fall to peer pressure, they will ultimately be blocked again. That’s shitty, I know. But we all know what they did with Vimeo, so…
In a moment of the so-called “LGBT panic”, we’ve seen LINE fell to peer pressure when our government demanded to remove stickers on their app that deemed to contain “LGBT material”. Not only LINE, they also asked WhatsApp, too.
Oh, better go after smartphones too, because smartphones emojis follow the Unicode standard. And can you guess which stickers are also there? Yep, LGBT-themed emojis.
I still can’t comprehend the fact that in an era where net neutrality is becoming more and more important, governments want to come and ruin everything. Just because they thought they are the ones who control the “morals” of all their nationals.
Did anyone say, 1984?
These acts of censorship must be stopped, but unfortunately there are still no local organisations which fully support, and fight for the freedom of information, on the Internet, in this country. Until then, I can only hope for the best. Or just move out of this country should opportunities arise.