Censorship is the wrong response to Christchurch


Western countries are implementing restrictive legislation, too. The UK has passed the 'snooper's charter' and Australia has passed the Assistance and Access Bill. These allow governments in some circumstances to access personal information that users have encrypted. Clearly, there is a global move towards limiting internet freedom in the name of national security. This involves increased internet surveillance, access to personal data, and censorship.

It is possible to both condemn the actions of a mass murderer and to criticize the hasty actions of the New Zealand government. Events like the Christchurch shooting are incredibly rare and should be treated as such. They should not be used as a catalyst to implement a system of site-blocking which could have a major impact on individuals' right to freedom of speech and internet access.

Excellent comment from a reader:

It is the notion of "harmful content" that needs to be challenged. It is becoming like belief in Voodoo. Or a belief that an airbrushing unpleasant thing in the virtual world is like fixing problems in the real world. It isn't. 

The proposals in the UK to crack down on "harmful content", including today a demand for a crackdown on "misleading" and "terrorist propaganda". Forget social media, the mainstream media gave centre stage to ISIS video nasties and also repeatedly show what happened in 9/11. Recall the "falling man" image? And there is no shortage of "misleading content" in the mainstream (e.g. yesterday Guardian opinion suggested the "unwanted consequences" of "unregulated" media was "genocide" and "stolen elections"). By this logic we should shut down the entire global news media. On a previous anniversary of 9/11 some criticized the US media for showing those distressing images and playing into the hands of terrorists. The response was "you can't run away from those images".Or maybe you can.