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Chinese, U.S. Condemn Censorship

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the glad-we-can-talk-about-this dept.

Censorship 238

More reactions both at home and abroad to the censorship issue. picaro writes "According to the BBC, 'party elders' in China released an open letter decrying the current state of censorship in China, and suggesting that 'history demonstrates that only a totalitarian system needs news censorship, out of the delusion that it can keep the public locked in ignorance.'" LWATCDR writes "The US government is upset over restrictions of freedom of speech on the Internet. The United States, has 'very serious concerns' about the protection of privacy and data throughout the Internet globally, and in particular, some of the recent cases raised in China."

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hm (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719515)

wouldnt the 'protection of privacy and data' be 'censorship' ?

Re:hm (1, Flamebait)

Rahga (13479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719580)

Doubleplusyes.

Re:hm (5, Informative)

B. Pascal (952378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719586)

Hello J.B.:

There is a difference between protecting privacy and censorship. Privacy protection involves stopping the dissemination of personal information. On the other hand, censorship involves stopping the dissemination of public information.

For example, protecting my medical records, making it inaccessible to others without my permission, is protecting my privacy. Stopping news report of an earth quake, for another example, would be censorship.

Cheers.

B.Pascal

Re:hm (2, Interesting)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719756)

so what you are saying is that some data is flagged 'personal' while other data is flagged 'public'.

in most cases I suppose, it is pretty easy to determine how the data should be flagged.

what about the cases where the line is not so black and white?

one could make arguments for both sides regarding something like the formula for a new drug. or source code. heck, even your medical records would be valuable public data when aggregated with large amounts of other records.

my only point is that i don't think it's as clear cut as you describe, and i think its odd in an article titled 'Chinese, US Condemn Censorship' to have it say the US is worried about data privacy protections.

when it comes to falun gong, taiwanese independance, etc, china wants the data to be private, IE not in the hands of the public. to the US that is censorship. there may also be data that china allows and the US doesn't, though I certainly couldn't give an example off the top of my head...

Re:hm (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720206)

Tiananmen Square...yeah...China would loved to have kept that one "private."

Re:hm (1)

whargoul (932206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719781)

nope

Re:hm (2, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719938)

Not really. Censorship means preventing the originator of the information from publishing it. Protecting privacy means enabling the originator of the information to keep it private, that is, not to publish it if he or she does not wish to. The one case in which protection of privacy and censorship come together is when party A wants to publish information about party B. There is then a potential conflict between A's freedom of speech and B's right to privacy.

In US law, and generally in the law of countries that protect freedom of speech and of the press, the protection of party B is addressed by means other than censorship, that is, either by laws preventing the release of confidential information in the first place (so that, e.g., your doctor is forbidden to release your medical information to a journalist without your permission, so in principle the journalist will never be in a position to publish it) or through the ability to sue someone who libels you or violates a non-disclosure agreement or its statutory equivalent.

So, yes, in certain circumstances there is a conflict between freedom of speech and privacy and protection of privacy and censorship therefore come to have similar goals, but this is true only in certain circumstances involving personal information and may, and is in many countries, addressed by means other than censorship.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719526)

FP you! Thats first post for thems that dont know. Yeah baby.!!!. Lick the scrotum for valentoons day!!!! Yippeeee!! Eeeee

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719548)

You wished....

WTF? (0)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719530)

It's a little early for April Fools Day pranks, ain't it?

In other news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719551)

China is now looking for a more "fair and balanced" way to report the day's headlines.

Re:In other news... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14720027)

And Guantanamo prisoners are looking forward to US joining list of countries that respect basic human and civil rights..

Uh oh.... (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720076)

Does that mean their propaganda will be presented in a "no spin zone"?

Hypocrits (1, Insightful)

Ant2 (252143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719552)

One of those countries is being hypocritical in their remarks. The other is in Asia.

mod down this moron (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719615)

"One of those countries is being hypocritical in their remarks. The other is in Asia."

Yes, because the US govt is censoring the internet, how insightful. Moderators are morons.

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719644)

Great remark!

Re:Hypocrits (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719649)

Of course if you want to control data on the Internet globally, it is much easier if you don't have 20% of the world population trained to avoid filtering and monitoring.
I guess in the future, for his own survival, the average China user will be far more skilled in protecting his identity and accessing 'hidden' data!

Re:Hypocrits (4, Funny)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719673)

My god your right! I just tried searching for George Bush Sucks [google.com] and got nothing! Nor does there seem to be any entries for George bush is a terrorist [google.com] ! This blatant censorship must stop!

Re:Hypocrits (1)

packeteer (566398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719790)

I think the issue here is that in China they have a system in place that supports censorship. In the USA we have a system that should be against censorship but has been hijacked. Even if we did censor as bad as china (which we dont even get close to) I would still be happier here becuase I know that the government is doing something against their own rules when they censor us.

Re:Hypocrits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719924)

Very cute. Of course the fact that the US state department has condemed the display and distribution cartoon of a certin someone is not at all censorship...

Oh wait. It is.

Re:Hypocrits (2, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719989)

Oh wait. It is.

No, it is not. "Censorship" would be actually preventing or punishing display and distribution of said cartoon. Expressing disapproval of someone else's speech is itself a subset of free speech (not that the Government technically has First Amendment rights, but the principal applies.)

Re:Hypocrits (-1, Flamebait)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720249)

Too bad he most of the country voted for him. You lost. Twice. Get the fuck over it and better luck next time.

Re:Hypocrits (1)

rossifer (581396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720369)

Too bad he most of the country voted for him. You lost. Twice.

The real tragedy here is that you also lost. Twice.

But you still don't realize it.

Regards,
Ross

P.S. Not that Kerry was that much better. I so wish that McCain wins the Republican primary. He's a candidate that I'd vote for in a minute.

Re:Hypocrits (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719696)

Lessee... US, not in Asia. China is in Asia. Country not in Asia being hypocritical... that would be US in this case. We'll leave that on the side for the moment. That leaves a country NOT being hypocritical, and we end up with ???CHINA???

China not being hypocritical here? What???

Re:Hypocrits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719961)

Did you read the summary?

Re:Hypocrits (2, Insightful)

aeoo (568706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719699)

Hypocritical though they may be, their remarks in this case are wholesome and worth paying attention to.

I say we should be willing to forgive some degree of hypocricy, in ourselves and in others, if we want to make progress. That doesn't make hypocricy OK, but acknowledging that we are not perfect is a step in the right direction. A hypocrite needs a way to move forward. It's simply insane to demand that all hypocricy stop at once. If you have ever tried to abandon hypocricy in your own life you will know how insanely hard (or impossible, in some cases) it is. It requires no less than Saintly/Noble wisdom. Moral improvements can come in small increments and we shouldn't set the bar so high as to make it impossible. Hypocricy is bad, but any movement in the right direction should be encouraged.

Sometimes the person screaming "Hypocrits!" is the one who is the biggest hypocrit of the bunch. I'm not saying you are like that, mind.

All of the above is just my opinion. :)

Re:Hypocrits (1)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719847)

One of those countries is being hypocritical in their remarks. The other is in Asia.

Moderators are making like a Chinese official and censoring the crap out of you. The meteoric rise and fall in your karma has satisified me.

Re:Hypocrits (2, Interesting)

Conanymous Award (597667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719965)

I don't know what this Anonymous Coward finds hypocritical about some Chinese party elders crying foul of the censorship their "people's democracy" is practicing. The only thing I could complain about is that they're stating the obvious.

BTW, it's spelt 'hypocritEs'.

A Few Questions... (3, Interesting)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719565)

Who is this letter being addressed to? Who will it reach that have the power to change the status quo?

I'm wondering what purpose this announcement serves. I'm glad to hear this, but is this just lipservice or a precursor to some real action?

I'm at a loss as to how such a major policy change can be brought about in China aside from a sudden onset of mass altruism. Part of it stems from a very poor understanding of the Chinese government structure. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the U.S that doesn't know.

Can someone fill in these information gaps?

A few answers (3, Informative)

pepsi_j_cola (943788) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719983)

1) There are only a few top post in China that provide policy direction. Most of it currently filled by Hu, a civil engineer by trade (thus all the rail road, dam and other civil projects got a lot more funding.) 2) There is also a people's congress full of semi-elected people (some of them are appointed by local governments, some elect by villages, some by state companies). They mostly just rubber stamp what the top people want to do. But sometime they don't. 3) There is also a mass of state and local governments. The major cities' governments are controled closely from the top. But small cities and villages local government mostly ignore what ever the top tell them and do their own thing. 4) For a non-elect government, they still respond closely to the needs of the poeple. Like when the difference between rich and poor became an identified problem. The state abolished tax for the bottom 20%, lowered gas price for farmers and removed residency requirment to work in most cities. 5) To get to the top in Chinese Government, you would start in some government office. Then work your personal relationships, or prove yourself.

Re:A Few Questions... (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720041)

From my knowledge of China, I'd say there is a good chance this will have a positive though not doing away completely with censorship, assuming that the letter actually is read by the chinese. One of the prime reasons for the strict authoritarianism in China is because of the political culture of confucianism. In a confucianist culture there is a strict heirarchy and the people are expexted to be loyal; however, it is also the responsibility of the elders and advisors to speak out when they see the country on the wrong path.

So, one would hope this will result in, at the very least, some loosening of restrictive censorship laws. The chinese people do have a vested interest in the transition being measured, look at the shock treatment Russia went through and tell me that is a good thing.

Remarkable candor (1, Insightful)

theCat (36907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719584)

Or double-speak. It's hard to tell them apart if done correctly.

It would be trivially easy for the Chinese leadership to appraoch Google, Y! et al and say "Just serve up the same search results as you do in any other country. We won't throw anyone in jail or kick your servers out of the country if you do. We welcome the internal discussion this would provoke because we want to support free speech."

Let's see if in fact they do that. Nothing short of that exact approach is likely going to cut it.

Re:Remarkable candor (1)

harks (534599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719893)

They'd also have to end restrictions of printed books and public expression. The fact that they do none of this shows they're completely full of it.

Re:Remarkable candor (1)

P0ldy (848358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719954)

" ... We won't throw anyone in jail or kick your servers out of the country if you do. ..."

What has baffled me is that Google.cn servers aren't even in China [samspade.org] , so what's this talk about compliance with local laws? Am I wrong?

Re:Remarkable candor (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720110)

If they want to make money in China they must be a registered business there. They make money by selling ads, so one would assume the only way they can make money in China is by selling ads for things in China, or make more money off of China. So, if they wish to recieve ad revenue from chinese companies then they are required to have a presence in China.

I would also guess that Google has no servers in France, and they are regulated there as well.

TFA said former party members (1)

hw2084 (938560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720118)

I was puzzled by your comment at first because the article doesn't say that the Chinese govt supports easing up on censorship. The comments were made by retired party members so they don't have as much to lose by speaking their minds. I'm sure that anyone who isn't part of the ruling elite in China would love to end censorship.

I'm not a Chinese citizens, but I have friends who are. They tell me that the way it works is that most dissidence is basically punished in economic ways. So a college student who protests might not be throw in jail, but he/she will find that they are unable to get a job for the rest of their lives. Other transgressions can be handled similarly. For example, having more than one kid can land you in similar trouble.

Those writing the letters might feel that they are safe, since they probably have enough saved up for retirement. It's still kind of dangerous for their families though.

Yeah right. (5, Funny)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719585)

"The letter was signed on 2 February but publicly released on Tuesday."

Sadly, the writers made the unfortunate mistake of pointing out important parts using the infamous "black highlighter." They could not be located for clarification.

Let Me Get This Straight: (5, Insightful)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719591)

If China censors free speech, that's bad.

But if fundamentalist religious zealots threaten us with violence for exercising free speech, we're okay with that.

Seriously - WTF?

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (3, Informative)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719690)

Like this case: click [theregister.co.uk] .
Sad.

Ernst Zundel, David Irving, & Germar Rudolf. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14720301)

In jail for thought crime. Western countries are hypocrites. Blah muslim, blah china while pulling this crap. Jews are pushing thought crime laws in every country to force their "truth". Truth needs no such defense. Don't believe in official dogma, go to jail.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (3, Insightful)

omgwtfroflbbqwasd (916042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719751)

Ya know, there's something that everyone born with the right to free speech seems to have forgotten lately..

Just because you can say it doesn't mean there aren't consequenses from saying it! To think that someone can stand on their soapbox and rant on about something that infuriates others and not have their ass kicked shows a severe lack of common sense.

That said, there's definitely room for tolerance of conflicting opinions, views, etc. in our world. But don't expect everyone to act that way.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (5, Insightful)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719828)

Just because you can say it doesn't mean there aren't consequenses from saying it!

This is such a god damm strawman argument and I am so sick and tired of it. People who say that freedom of speech and of the press are important values (like the GP) aren't saying that speech should be free from consequences. However consequences is defined in a very particular way. When people, correctly, say that there are "consequences" to speech, they aren't talking about bombings, riots, murder, and all that bullshit. Stop equating some doofus at some university for getting himself kicked out because he posts stuff on the internet (a legal consequence), with people who riot in the streets, burn buildings, cause violence, kill each other, and threaten to kill the people who said stuff they disagree with half a world away.

Muslims, including many moderates, feel that a paper should not be allowed to insult their religion. That is the very definition of a violation of free speech. Threatening to kill Danish citizens is not a "consequence" of freedom of speech. Pissing someone off doesn't give them the right to burn shit, and kill people. That is not a valid "consequence" of speech.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719900)

Well said. I was getting ready to reply similarly when I saw you beat me to it.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719930)

damn well said.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720189)

Thanks, the consequence of you posting this is that I'm copying it to paste in the future when others bring up this same old canard. I got sick of constantly typing out why it is a non-sequiter to the question of free speech.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (1)

Stoned4Life (926494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719935)

There are consequences to EVERYTHING we say, but that is not the issue at all. What China is doing is censorship. That's all there is to it. Nothing to deny, no excuses, censorship is censorship. But what is going on with these religious zealots threatening people with violence over cartoons (Cartoons! This is not something said on a soap-box, not something aired over public radio or national television, but a simple cartoon!), that is just disgusting. They are overthrowing embassies, killing people, rioting in the streets, and all over some cartoons, claiming that their print was a purposeful act of intolerance of their religion. They believe in the idea that "Thou shalt not make false idols" of Muhammed or speak of his name in vain, but when the 9-11 hi-jackers claimed their attack "in the name of Islam" and "in the name of Muhammed" why weren't they complaining then?! These are also the same people who have printed cartoons of nazi swastikas over Americans and Jews, of horrible depictions of Jesus Christ, of Americans killing muslim/islamic women and children, and of American beheadings- all in the name of good humor and fun?! They're just cartoons eh? This whole ordeal is not only a sickening demonstration of their disregard for other nation's rights, but a clear and honest example of why they alienate themselves from the societies in which they expect to live in harmonously. They want to get away with saying whatever they want under the protection of free speech, but the moment they are on the butt end of a joke, they rio and burn buildings! Complete an utter intolerance- plain and simple. (I suppose I got a little off track of the actual topic, but I feel this had to be said.)

100% dead wrong (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720221)

"To think that someone can stand on their soapbox and rant on about something that infuriates others and not have their ass kicked shows a severe lack of common sense."

if someone attacks you violently for what you say, they are wrong. the punishment for a crime cannot exceed the damage caused by the crime. otherwise, you have an escalation of violence. you cannot blame someone for inciting you to do a crime which is worse than the crime you are resonding to

if i slap you, and you shoot me in the face in return, me slapping you has not justified your reaction. meanwhile, if i slap you, and you slap me back, that's totally justified. but you cannot blame me for you choosing to escalate the violence in a situation. escalating the violence is entirely your fault. if you escalate the situation, even if someone attacked you, then you now share the blame. your response to an insult cannot be greater than the insult, or you are creating your own insult, that is your own responsibility in totality

if you sleep with someone's wife, it is common sense that the husband might be pissed about that. but it is also true that if the husband kills you for sleeping with his wife, he did a crime worse than the crime he is punishing

in other words, your understanding of common sense is wrong. common sense dictates that the punishment for a crime should not be worse than a crime. in a society where the punishment for a crime is worse than the crime, you only perpetuate crime. common sense does not side with the guy who will torch a store because they overcharged him, common sense does not side with the law that says you should have your hand cut off because you stole some fruit... or any punishment for a crime that is greater than the crime itself

free speech, no matter what the contents of the words, is no justification for violence, whatsoever

what is that weird wacky concept?

it's called common sense

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719859)

But if fundamentalist religious zealots threaten us with violence for exercising free speech, we're okay with that.

No, but what do you propose we do about it, other than get into a "Bush is bad," "No, Islam is a violent religion," fight?

exactly (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719860)

many say the prophet mohammed cartoons were a direct provocation of muslim sensibilities. and they would be correct. and equally true is that many muslims are rightfully deeply insulted by the cartoons... but most of them they stew in their anger in silence, or wage peacful protests. and some say the western media only focuses on the most violent of reactions. there is some truth to this too.

however, the problem is that, even with all of these mitigations, there is still a worrisome, large segment of the muslim world that thinks their reaction, violence, is appropriate. in other words...
1. the muslims were provoked: true
2. most muslims react peacefully and appropriately: true
3. western media shows a disproportionate amount of violent reaction: true

and yet, after all of those mitigations, there still really are a lot of muslims, a disporportionately, worrying large amount, who reacted with violence. and this points to a real problem in the muslim world, that haters of the west, and apologists for the muslim world, or anyone else for that matter, would be foolish to think they can ignore as a serious issue.

Re:exactly (1)

Chrononium (925164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720145)

They were certainly provoked, but the cartoons were published in September 2005 Link [spectator.org] . Why the delayed reaction? Why do they get to print cartoons making fun of the Holocaust, of Christians and of Jews? Where are the protests then? Make no mistake: this is not a simple reaction. It has been provoked by both the newspaper and radical Muslims. It's not freedom of speech; it's a flame war.

that's an accurate statement (2, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720239)

it is like an online flamewar, except that in real life, real flames are used

it even started, ironically, with a danish troll: the cartoons. trolls being a nordic invention, i think, that makes sense? ;-P

Re:exactly (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720348)

"It's not freedom of speech; it's a flame war."

What? People should not be free to have flame wars? How do you figure?

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (1)

g8oz (144003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719890)

There were plenty of Muslims who were offended but didn't threaten anyone.
Our opinions count too you know.

Plus some of those cartoons arguably count as hate speech.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14720016)

Except the burning of crosses by the KKK, the public calls by the Black Panthers in the '60s were calls for open violence against white people and the flag burnings in the Middle East currently are open calls for violence against the U.S. all count as hate crimes. What next? You can't say 'women complain too much' because thats sexist? Why not just revoke the right to free speech and enact a worldwide gag law.

Muslims are just being hypocrites if they don't rein in their extremists and then bitch when we retaliate.

Re: False choice there (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720160)

> If China censors free speech, that's bad.
>
> But if fundamentalist religious zealots threaten us with
> violence for exercising free speech, we're okay with that.

Find a single person who is "okay with that."

The whole cartoon situation is two problems, one much worse than the other. First, printing something that is offensive (shouldn't be a big deal, it happens every day, but it is still offensive). Second, reacting violently - which is completely inexcusable.

Criticism and mob violence != state censorship (1)

jonathan_95060 (69789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720261)

Muslims are rioting in response to the cartoon. Other people are criticising the cartoon for being culturally insensitive. No western state has censored the cartoon.

Also, self censorship does not equal state censorship. The consequence of violating social norms by saying something offensive (e.g. spouting racist ideology at a public KKK rally) are not the same as the consequences of speaking on a forbidden topic in a country with extensive state censorship (e.g. writing and talking about democracy in China). In the first case the U.S. police will protect your speech no matter how offensive they find it and in the second case the Chinese authorities will throw you in prison.

To equate state sponsored censorship with social pressures (e.g. political correctness) that encourage self censorship is just plain wrong.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14720285)

If China censors free speech, that's bad.

But if fundamentalist religious zealots threaten us with violence for exercising free speech, we're okay with that.


Yup. In fact, that's exactly the difference between us and China. We don't censor the free speech of religious zealots, even though the religious zealots themselves hate the idea of free speech.

Similarly, we don't censor your free speech, even though you hate the fact that fundamentalist religious zealots have free speech.

Of course, if fundamentalist religious zealots committed violence against someone for exercising free speech, as does often happen in many parts of the world, then that would be bad.

Re:Let Me Get This Straight: (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720336)

Who is this "we"? Got a mouse in your pocket?

Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 (4, Informative)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719602)

Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 [rsf.org]

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland all tied for 1st place.

The USA ranked 44th. (Fell more than 20 places)

China ranked 159th.

The Index also refutes the theory frequently advanced by leaders of poor and repressive countries that economic development is a vital prerequisite for democracy and the respect for human rights. The top portion of the Index is heavily dominated not only by rich, but also by very poor, countries (the latter having a per capita GDP of less than $1,000 in 2003).

Re:Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719750)

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland all tied for 1st place.



With their embassies burning and citizens threatened on their lives because some newspapers printed some cartoons I guess that list may change..

Re:Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 (1)

Thundertje (664614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720133)

They didn't burn the Dutch one, no Dutch citizens kidnapped/murdered either. All that, whilest reprinting the cartoons in a couple of mayor newpapers and a Dutch MP who put the cartoons on his website.

Re:Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14720175)

And Swedens ranking should drop by quite a bit after the government there closes an online newspaper by having the security (secret) police "inform" the hosting company of various "threats" that may have existed against it; a way of censoring media reminiscent of some lesser developed democracies. (See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4700414.st m [bbc.co.uk] )

Re:Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 (1)

geekee (591277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719785)

"The USA ranked 44th. (Fell more than 20 places)"

The article states that the US fell in rank for imprisoning reporters who wouldn't divulge sources. This was due to an overzealous prosecutor investigating the CIA operative leak. So the Democrats are responsible for destroying freedom of press since getting back at the Republicans is more important than basic civil liberties (Republicans do this all the time too).

"The Index also refutes the theory frequently advanced by leaders of poor and repressive countries that economic development is a vital prerequisite for democracy and the respect for human rights."

It's the other way around. Respect for basic individual rights is a prerequisite for economic development. Repressive governments severely hinder economic growth by making it difficult for businessmen to be free to do their work without govt. red tape, restrictions, bribes, uncertainty of having property nationalized, etc.

Re:Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719803)

I wouldn't put too much faith into that list.

There is a reason why the USA slipped of course and ranks at 44th place, but abuses of press get a lot more press if it happens in the USA. The only way to know about these abuses is more or less the same mechanism that the report is criticizing.

Take for example Hungary, my home country at the 12th place. Now, around 80-90% of the media here is owned by ex-communist leaders who transferred their political power into economic one. That makes for a pretty biased press. I'm not sure if I would take the USA's press over what we have here, but I'd take the UK's press any day (especially the beeb) and they got the 24th place while Hungary is 12 places higher.

This freedom of press report should be taken with a pinch of salt. I'm no expert on press in most of the world, but based on how it represents local press I have to conclude it to be pretty inaccurate.

Re:Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 (1)

Peden (753161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720004)

Sweden is hopefully coming down from the top. Members of the parliament in Sweden have lately uttered that they find censorship OK, if minorities are involed in a hatefull way. YAP YAP YAP.

Re:Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 (2, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720012)

Freedom of speech is not the same as a right to hide sources. I don't think "freedom from divulging sources engaged in illegal activities" really counts as freedom of speech. Sure you can say anything you want, but that doesn't necessarily give you the right to hide illegal activities.

The people making this report have a different idea of what free press is than here. Many of those countries at the top would jail anyone who ran a Nazi or otherwise racist publication. In the US, you have the right to free speech not just when it's popular, but even if it's not.

Stunning. (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719608)

Now "Party Elders" really means "former party officials", so this isn't indicating change from the inside. Still a stunning statement. The close ties of the people signing the letter to Mao seems significant... Though the cynical part of me notes that at least two of them were explicitly propagandists, implying this may simply be more of the same (but to what purpose, I don't know). Yet the statement "only a totalitarian system needs news censorship" is one of those things that is so true it doesn't matter who says it.

Re:Stunning. (1)

vykor (700819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719820)

The Old Guard of "elders" has become less and less relevant in Chinese government. President Hu and his people can't get these old fools out fast enough; some of them resent the loss of influence and has been doing whatever they could to irk the sitting administration.

When these people were in power, they were far, far worse than any in the current government in terms of suppressing dissident thought. Think Cultural Revolution.

Re:Stunning. (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719963)

Yet the statement "only a totalitarian system needs news censorship" is one of those things that is so true it doesn't matter who says it.

On the other hand, this statement may be doublespeak for "We are totalitarian, therefore we need censorship, and you can piss up a rope if you don't like it."

Fire Matt Millen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719613)

Fire Matt Millen!

Call me cynical... (1)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719630)

...but I can't shake that there are a number of implicit "of courses" in play, e.g. "Of course, no-one should even want to print the opinions of the reactionary remnant in Tibet Province and their revanchist terrorist partisans abroad, so severe psychiatric treatment would be indicated for those who do."

There's also this history of letting one hundred flowers bloom...so you know which ones need cutting-down.

I'd rather be wrong about this but.

i'd love to read this dissenting viewpoint but... (1)

slackaddict (950042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719637)

google.cn isn't returning any search res.. NO CARRIER


Doomed to failure (1)

Elessar (8997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719642)

In my view the Chinese censorship is ultimately doomed to failure. The internet is so dynamic that there will always be "sensitive" content that slips through the net. Also it is fundamental human nature to be curious. If you see a big red button labelled "do not press" - your immediate thoughts are "I wonder what would happen if I did?". Similarly if you censor content the natural reaction is "I wonder what I am not being told?". With that curiousity added to human ingenuity, it means that people will always find ways around the censors. Sooner or later the Chinese will realise this and censorship will end.

Re:Doomed to failure (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720219)

They key to censorship is to keep the censored populace unaware of this fact.

This is why we have the Chinese government saying things like: "history demonstrates that only a totalitarian system needs news censorship, out of the delusion that it can keep the public locked in ignorance." Just a little bit of reassurance to the populace. "Don't worry we disagree with censorship, go back to your homes and sleep safe."

If you know you're being censored, the censorship has essentially failed and will need to be rethought. Same thing with propaganda. As soon as people realized that "Fair and balanced" was code for "Propaganda", they stopped paying attention. Unfortunately, the sad truth is, people like to hear what they want to hear.

free speech and privacy in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719651)

So what would happen if some google/yahoo/Msoft execs showed up to
testify to congress wearing "2,245 Dead. How many more" T-shirts?

What if they asked how the privacy of internet users was being
protected by the recent US government subpoenas?

I can think of bigger shock and awe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719866)

I didn't log-in because I know this post will be criticized without merit, and I don't need any negative feedback on an already critical neutral Slashdot account that I've had difficulty in same light. My idea...

Make your own T-Shirt advertising "Ted Gunderson" and his report on the Satanists in the CIA and the FBI that torture little children by threatening to rip them up with anal sex; international sex-slave rings that coerce prisoners to rape children that had been decapitated.

The recent fuzz is to the UK in Bosra, Iraq; having beaten-killed four children for what appears their teasing the foreign-UK' tresspassing agency compound. The video is http://prisonplanet.com/articles/february2006/1402 06bbeating_vid.htm [prisonplanet.com] and I suggest everyone study that video footage well. In my days growing-up in a Herodian Christian School, their screems sound no different than the Principals-office. For those of you thinking that beating their children is not in the Holy-Bible, then I suggest you study again; the beating if ever justified are always misplacd--my reasoning is that of the eye-to-eye docrine brought by Moses whereas a master chastises his servant with subjective matter; for example, a cheff "beats" his servant/doughboy into subserviance with a wet-noodle, an automotive mechanic "beats" his apprentice with related knowledge and wisdom. All this Satanic crap is ridiculous. Notice the UK soldiers would not return the rocks to them that threw the rock.

The only good thing about a war is we all get to see who is evil and take notice to their tresspass against us. What is it today, where my neighbors say that the US soldiers in Iraq gave me the right to be free, when this right is secured none-other but by love and effect of good will and charity to my neighbors.

I don't control the words or movement of God (Good); God isn't a thing, unlike the idolaters that send me all that rioutous pseudo-patriotic mail of crying-eagles and "salute this" drivvel.

Sincerily, /s/ X
Secured Party, Creditor.

...but they'll gladly take billions from China (2, Insightful)

Serveert (102805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719658)

The day those in government stop accepting Chinese money to fund our historic spending is the day we can start taking our government seriously when it makes value judgements against China.

If they're so evil, stop accepting the money, it's really simple

Re:...but they'll gladly take billions from China (2)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719906)

Indeed, the U.S. government mired in the mess of Iraq, North Korea, and the developing mess with Iran, is quite beholden to the Chinese government and not really in a position to make too many demands. But in addition to this, it has been U.S. corporations in their blind pursuit of profits at any cost who have enabled China to get the billions that they are now using to build up their military and wield more influence in the U.S. and elsewhere. It is no secret that a low paid and tightly controlled populace can translate into big profits. Ironically, as Chinese industry and technology develops through their own innovation and lessons learned from foreign companies, Chinese industries have a good chance of beating their teachers at their own game.

Re:...but they'll gladly take billions from China (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14720073)

Sorry, you can't blame the corporations. It was the U.S. government's idea to build a financially strong China in the hopes that it would collapse from within as a result of power shifting away from Beijing towards capitalist centers supporting an empowered people.

Talk (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719660)

It's all just talk until things change. I'll ignore the public statements and wait for change before altering my opinion, thank you.

make up your minds... and ours.... (2, Funny)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719700)

So, first they model their cencorship policy [slashdot.org] on our "model", then they criticize it. And apprently, we agree with them..

I'm so confused...

All I'm going to say (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719724)

All I'm going to say is that actions speak louder than words. I'll believe it when i see it.

Crock O' Shite (3, Interesting)

PingXao (153057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719732)

The U.S. is as concerned about "privacy rights" as casinos are in letting you win. The quote comes from State Department flunky Josette Shiner, a 15-year veteran of the Washington Times and a member of the cult known as the "Unification Church". When a Moonie tells you, on behalf of the U.S. Government, that the government is interested in personal privacy it's time to run in the other direction as fast as possible. FWIW Shiner got her appointment from Bush to the State Dept. as a political favor to the Moonies for their support.

When a woman who has spent the majority of her adult life in service to Rev. Moon there's very little credibility there.

Privacy vs. Censorship (1)

SchrodingersRoot (943800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719763)

Yeah! We don't care much about privacy, but we'll be damned if we let censorship stand!
...unless we deem something immoral.

But seriously, it's harder to monitor what someone thinks, if you've got them buttoned down tight with censorship.

in other news.. (1)

SQLz (564901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719769)

'party elders' found dead.

Fight For Your Rights! (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719782)

We're censoring contraceptives now? The far right in this country is really taking things too.. what's that?

Oh, heh.. nevermind.

Content Censorship (1, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719786)

In all fairness, the US openly and actively participates in content Censorship. That is, copyright controlls. While it may not seem like censorship, the fact is that there is no technology in existence that can automatically distinguish between free spech content and copyright content. In the information age, you can not have individuals or corporations controlling media content chanels to the end user unless they will also have the power to controll speech content.

For those who don't think this is a possibility, governments (blacks law dictionary) and religions (think scientology) and corporations (think diebold) already routinely try to use copyright controlls to controll speech, research, and opinions. Unless society kills copyright, this problem will only grow exponentially worse.

INHO, copyrights are some of the biggest censorship tools ever created. It is hypocritical to point to China when we have such a huge gaping problem ourselves.

Re:Content Censorship (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720050)

Censorship is normally construed to mean prevention of publication of what the writer has to say, which most of the time takes the form of his or her own words. Therefore, in copyright restrictions can only lead to censorship in limited circumstances. They aren't a broad tool for censorship as you suggest.

It is true, though, that sometimes what one has to say requires the citation of someone elses words as evidence. This is supposed to be covered by the Fair use exemption. The classic case is that of a book review, but non-literary cases, like citation of individual definitions from a dictionary, the Scientology papers, and the Diebold documents, also fall under Fair Use. You'll note that although Diebold briefly made trouble with copyright claims, when the matter went to court the court told Diebold to jump in the lake.

So, the Fair Use doctrine needs to be clarified and strengthened, and where absent, added to the statutes, and DRM needs to be restricted so as not to interfere with Fair use, but it isn't fair to say that copyright poses a major and general threat to freedom of speech.

It's Not Just Censorship (2, Interesting)

Illbay (700081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719831)

There's a whole lot more wrong with China than just this issue.

For instance, they're [REDACTED] about the [REDACTED] insofar as [REDACTED] is concerned, and yet they continually [REDACTED] the [REDACTED] for as long as they can [REDACTED].

I wish they'd address those issues as well.

Re:It's Not Just Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719932)

LERn to spel RETRACTED!!

Re:It's Not Just Censorship (1)

Illbay (700081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14719988)

Learn the definition of the word "redacted" [wiktionary.org] .

Re:It's Not Just Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14720058)

LERn teh meaning of REDACTED!!

Anybody got a copy of the article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719849)

I seem to be behind some sort of firewall or blocking system?!?!
So I can't see the article.

I Condemn the Actions of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14719896)

...the President of the United States and the United States Military as crimes against humanity. And I'm posting anonymously. How do you like them apples?

ummm (0, Offtopic)

Slotty (562298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720066)

This is news for nerds how?

Why is it that China who has been (attempting) censoring all forms of media for years all of a sudden becomes slashdot worthy? Just curious

Re:ummm (1)

pennyher0 (852359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720236)

with the recent coverage of google bowing to their censor-happy asses and such, it makes this topic a hot one for those interested in information-distribution and dissimination.

I think that makes it more than relevant to /. readers.

Ironic (1)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720126)

The United States, has 'very serious concerns' about the protection of privacy and data throughout the Internet globally...

Hey, there's some progress. Next thing you know, the US will be voicing it's "very serious concerns" about warrantless searches.

Do I feel another cold war coming on? (1)

noamsml (868075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720150)

Yes, censorship and government control of popular mentality are inherently totalitarian, but I've got a feeling that the condemnation has nothing to do with this, and everything to do with the fact that China is a rising world power. Not to say that I don't want freedom for the Chinese people and conquered states, but I believe that this is not really about Fascism at all.

I do not believe Google should get out of China, since their presence is serving the Chinese people, and that their withdrawal would cause less, not more, information to be availiable to the Chinese people. I am getting the feeling that the US is more commited to it's own dominance to the Chinese people, or they would have understood that Google China is better for the Chinese people.

In other news... (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720276)

A group of former senior Communist party officials in China have been arrested.

Strange (2, Insightful)

Arwing (951573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720291)

It's strange for you guys to think that China(or Chinese) has a single mind. Or even the Chinese government is somehow unified under the same ideology and the whole nation is being ruled by one central government.
What you don't hear about is the riots in the countryside and local government officials (mostly even more corrupted than the central officials) gathering warlord-like power and basically dickslap the orders/directives from the central government.
Chinese central government is not as strong as most people think and they really don't have the ability to control the nation as a whole anymore. Most of the resources have been focused on developing certain areas (major cities, and costal trading zones), and most people outside of those area are not recieving any benefit from the development. If you know Chinese history, you can say that history is repeating itself(separation to unity to separation again). When the difference between country and the city reaches a critical point, there will either be 1)major riot that effects the whole nation (making the Tiananmen Crisis looking like a child's play) or 2)China in a desperate move trying to shift the nations attention by starting something big (Military action against Taiwan/Pick a fight against someone like Japan) and use the nationalism it has been developing as a tool to save its own ass.
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