วันพุธที่ 15 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2552
[netizen] Censorship issues
From: CJ Hinke <email@example.com>
Date: ก.ค. 15, 2009 6:41 ก่อนเที่ยง
Subject: [netizen] Censorship issues
To: Thai Netizen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I recently had dinner with Sarinee. We discussed many censorship issues and Thai
responces. This caused me to think over what I identified as censorship and to
look through the past two and a half years of FACT postings. I welcome
feedback. Tell me if you think any of these issues are not important or not
censorship. Let me know if you think anything should really be censored. If you
think any of these issues are just "too much", at least you have started to
think about them.
Censorship issues confronting freedom -
Banned books in Thailand first impacted my academic research in 1990 when I
discovered that many books regarding the death of King Ananda were censored. I
went on to first oppose Internet censorship against Dr. Charmonman Srisakdi who
styles himself "the father of the Thai Internet". Since that time, book and
Internet censorship have burgeoned in Thailand through successive governments,
military coup d'etat and a new constitution.
In petitioning the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand over the issue
of Internet censorship, Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) was created
with 27 original signers on November 15, 2006. We now have nearly 1,000.
Since that time we have continued to broaden and expand our definition of what
constitutes censorship. Here are a selection of just some of the censorship
issues on which we've reported and commented:
Academic censorship. All our educational institutions must be protected for
total freedom of thought, expression, opinion and communication. There must be
no intellectual restrictions or sanctions placed upon educators and students.
There is no such thing as dangerous information.
Advertising censorship is practiced primarily targetting alcohol and tobacco.
Consumers have the right to free choice. Companies are not forcing consumers to
smoke or drink: their products are legal and taxed by government. Make no
mistake: these are drugs, just legal drugs.
Ageism. We all develop different capacities depending upon our upbringing and
environment. We do not magically become responsible adults at any arbitrary
age. All young people must be educated to be responsible and think for
themselves with appropriate personal supervision by parents and educators. In
like manner, human beings simply never get so old their opinion no longer
counts for all of us. All our voices carry equal weight.
AIDS and HIV. We oppose discrimination against any person with AIDS. AIDS
information must be freely available as well as the views of those who disagree
with the current HIV hypothesis. There is a highly profitable medical industry
which has grown around HIV. This must be open to all challenges.
Book censorship, both non-fiction and fiction, in all languages. There is never
any excuse to ban a book. Banning books and print media is a blatant attempt by
government to manipulate public perception of issues.
Capital punishment is state-sanctioned murder. In many cases innocent prisoners
are executed which means they can never be exonerated. Can we, as human beings,
afford to make mistakes regarding life and death? We do not believe this serves
the public good or the good of our greater society or world community.
Copyright censorship. 100 years of copyright allow many valuable works to be
withdrawn from public circulation because they are no longer making any money.
In most cases, the money doesn't even go to the creator or their heirs but to a
hierarchy of businessmen, from agents to publishers to production houses. No one
deserves punishment for not-for-profit sharing of copyrighted works.
Cybercrime laws are promulgated by governments to be used to prosecute the same
kind of real-world crimes but somehow accomplished with the use of a computer.
These laws are always used to abridge privacy and effect censorship.
Data retention and deep packet inspection are tools by which repressive
governments stifle dissent and ISPs use to maximise their profits. No citizen
can feel free to express an opinion or otherwise freely make use of the
Internet. We call for an end to this intrusion on our personal privacy.
Drug wars in all countries. Such campaigns are futile, doomed to failure,
politicians' pipedreams and a waste of taxpayers' resources, designed by their
nature to reinforce class structure. We call for medical intervention and
treatment coupled with education. Treatment using medical marijuana should be
available to patients in all jurisdictions; all drugs must be allowed for
legitimate research studies. All information regarding drugs, both legal and
illegal, must remain freely available to the public.
Environmental destruction embodied by such practices as clearcut logging,
strip-mining, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power. Strong laws to curtail such
practices must be enacted globally. If you think turning out the lights an hour
a year, using recycled paper and car-pooling will save the Earth, you're wrong.
Film censorship, including film ratings systems. The current system bans nudity,
drinking alcohol and smoking but not graphic violence. There is something wrong
with this picture!
Fine art censorship involves artistic works in all media, photography including
computer-generated and modified images, and cartoons. Erotic, confrontational
and political art has been with us since men started painted on the walls of
caves. We don't have a patent to decide for others what is objectionable.
Food censorship. Genetically-modified crops are introduced by governments
working in hand with huge corporate interests. Then these crops are often made
compulsory leaving poor farmers even poorer and displacing native crops.
Freedom of information laws are common to nearly every country. However,
governments rarely divulge any of this information to citizens. The bureaucrats
always find an excuse for denial. We want true citizen access to all government
Gaming and gambling, including using the Internet. Gambling, at least for money,
is a far larger social problem than drugs. Multiplayer and video games have been
found to increase young people's social skills. Banning either won't make them
go away but only drive them farther underground.
Gender censorship and stereotypes, including dress and other elements of
personal taste and style. We support complete gender equality including ending
discrimination against all sexual free choice and sexually-transmitted
Globalisation and free trade agreements only serve the multinational, corporate
financiers of governments. They always have a negative income on labour in all
party countries and result in economic impoverishment on workers. Globalisation
has no benefits for the common man.
Graffiti is often seen as vandalism. But in many cases graffiti is used to
spread censored political content and dissent and remind the public of
Hate speech is often censored, particularly in Europe. Hate speech encompasses
fear of others and the unknown using issues of immigration, racism and
religion. We simply cannot afford to hate each other. However, no speech should
be censored unless it is a direct incitement to violence.
Human rights censorship is, simply, class warfare. The powerless often have
their human rights violated and then covered up by censorship.
Internet censorship, including cybercrime law, mobile phone and social networks.
Parents must participate in their children's Internet experience to create
responsible, thinking adults. We support total privacy and anonymity in all
Internet fora and oppose all Internet restrictions, including traffic shaping,
hierarchical Web management and Web-blocking for any reason.
Jihadi and "terrorist" content is an expression of oppressed peoples. We do not
believe that such content incites or involves any person in violence which they
would not have considered otherwise.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer information is often
censored in all media and particularly in public libraries and religious
schools who do not want their children exposed to such alternative lifestyles.
These sexualities are neither disease nor choice. Get over it!
Lese majeste law, including religious defamation and blasphemy. No personality
cult or religion should be used to enforce its strictures and observances on
others. These laws are used to pursue factional political agendas. Lese majeste
accusations in Thailand are used to demonstrate bureaucrats' loyalty.
Majority rule. We oppose a tyranny of the majority which always leaves some
interest groups powerless. We must embrace consensus and the anonymous
participatory democracy which has only been made possible by the Internet.
Martial law, emergency decrees, internal security laws are only attempts to
maintain government power by crushing opposition and repressing dissent. We
support self-determination for all peoples.
Music censorship is not only about explicit lyrics and kinky sex. Music is often
banned for political reasons because it motivates an opposition.
Naturism. Nudity in appropriate settings such as sunbathing or swimming is not
equivalent to sex. In fact, until at least the 1930s many thai women were
depicted in temple murals as topless. Nudity by both sexes should not be be
titillating, shocking, offensive or prurient.
Online pharmacies fill a need for lower-cost pharmaceuticals. The medical
industry controls access to medicine for its own profit. Everyone deserves the
right to choose their own drugs and treatment, including birth control and
Patani and other disputed territories. Thailand's Southern Muslims are the
poorest group in real income. This frustration has erupted into
uncharacteristic violence termed insurgency. Government has been responsible
for many state crimes in Patani including torture, kidnapping, forced
disappearance and extrajudicial murder. The organisations promoting separation,
autonomy or even self-sufficiency, are banned; their publications and Internet
voices are silenced, including appeals to the international community. We
oppose the banning of any organisation. We believe that citizens of Patani (and
Tibet and Chiapas and Palestine and many other places) must decide their own
future without government interference.
Police impunity, entrapment, stings, violence are simply part of lazy and
corrupt legal practice. They have no place in an equable society.
Political censorship is used by governments to suppress dissenting viewpoints
and keep themselves in power. If voting could change anything, it would be
Pornography, sex and prostitution. All have been with us since before the advent
of recorded history. We support free choice in all matters concerning sex
between consenting partners. Obviously, sex with children involves harm and is
flagrant abuse of a position of adult power. However, we do not believe that
mere possession of any content should be regarded as criminal.
Prisons are human censorship and serve only attitudes of retribution and
revenge, emotions unbefitting a civilised society. Surely together we can find
a better solution than locking human beings in a cage. Solitary confinement, in
particular, is simply torture practiced upon prisoners already made defenceless.
Prisons are about punishment and power not protection of society. All prisoners
are political prisoners.
Privacy and anonymity are essential to a free and functioning Internet. Netizens
should feel free to express their opinions without fear of ostracism or legal
consequences. Anonymity, in particular, is crucial to creating participatory
democracy on the web.
Racism, minorities and refugees. There is a class system in Thailand of the
haves and have-nots, often finding voice in the darkness of a person's skin.
This is expressed by economic and educational sanctions which ensure peasant
farmers never rise above their station. This racism is even more true when
dealing with marginalised minorities such as Northern hilltribe peoples and
Southern Muslims. This racism is far less subtle when Thailand deals with
refugees, often amounting to unimaginable cruelty, barbarity and murder.
Radio censorship. For places that don't have Internet access, low-powered
community radio is cheap, easy to operate and gets the word out. Radio can be a
powerful organising tool. In Thailand, that means it's often censored.
Religion and atheism. Everyone should be free to choose their own spiritual
path, including disavowal of any religious view.
Reproductive rights. All women have the right to information controlling their
own fates. This includes birth control and abortion information, including
access to abortion drugs.
Social control is responsible for citizens accepting government censorship. We
don't want to appear to be different from the group. We need to start thinking
for ourselves if this is to change.
Speciesism. All living beings have the right to peacefully coexist with us. We
have our doubts that human beings are the pinnacle of evolution even if we are
at the top of the food chain.
Suicide and abortion. Every person has the right to decide to end their own life
for whatever personal reasons. There must be no restrictions on the availability
of suicide information in all media. Similarly, every woman has the right to
decide for any reason whatsoever if they wish to be mother to another human
depending upon their own circumstances.
Surveillance society implements thought control. The public has become
accustomed to CCTV cameras, telephone wiretapping, email monitoring and
Internet traffic analysis. That doesn't mean they're right...or effective.
Television censorship. Broadcast television continues to shape the opinions of
most of the world's population. We oppose political, cultural or advertising
utilising media spin to shape public opinion. Both television studios and
newspaper were occupied by soldiers during Thailand's 2006 military coup
Toy censorship. Yes, Virginia, they even censor toys! Parents and their children
can decide together what is useful and what is harmful.
Unfair labour practices and the laws that enable them, including unsafe working
conditions, reinforce the powerlessness of workers, including migrant labour.
They only serve corporate greed. Corporations care about profits not people.
War is implemented by military conscription and fuelled by nationalism. We
oppose violent solutions to conflict and embrace nonviolent activism,
reconciliation, dialogue, compromise, negotiation, peacemaking and
peacekeeping. The military must never be part of government decisions. Mankind
has evolved beyond violence. Nationalism is defined by arbitrary borders
created by outmoded political, economic, cultural, linguistic and racial
divisions outmoded in the modern world. It's just all of us.
Weapons. We oppose all weapons in society, including those for hunting. The only
purpose for weapons is for killing. Making, selling, using or relying on the
force of weapons are crimes against humanity. We support ahimsa or
Women's health issues. All women have the right to information regarding
reproductive health, childbirth and breastfeeding without restriction.
You may not have considered some of these issues, or many, as censorship of
human thought, dreams, aspirations. But all are critical to public perception.
Our views are shaped by the content to which we have access. All these topics
deserve your deepest exploration and consideration.
FACTsite is not just about reporting news about censorship issues. Our
commentary is designed to make you laugh and cry, gnash your teeth, pull your
hair and slap your forehead with the new awareness, "Why didn't I notice this
before?" Our insights are intended to poke you and prod you into thinking about
these crucial issues and about how people are being censored. FACT is about
creating thinking citizens.
FACT is, fundamentally, a human rights organisation because censorship violates
our privacy, our civil liberties and our civil rights. Censorship impedes
freedom of information, free expression and freedom of association.
All the censorship issues above may make it seem as if we are anti-government.
This is not the case. FACT is against bad government, government which does not
empower its sovereign citizens. Good government, which includes all of us, has
no need to censor its public.
FACT does not believe in trying to reform bad laws. Thailand's 2007
Constitution, Computer Crimes Act, Printing Act and Internal Security Act were
created by a military-appointed assembly. All contain broad provisions for
censorship. We call for the repeal of these unjust laws and the creation of new
laws incorporating fundamental freedoms, human rights, civil liberties and civil
FACT remains committed to publishing Thai government's secret Internet
blocklists and hosting those from more than a dozen foreign countries along
with instruction for using circumvention technologies to ignore censorship in
National security is often used as a catch-all excuse for censorship and
encompasses the current lese majeste debate in Thailand. National security is
never defined and can therefore be applied to whatever government finds
inconvenient. Governments hide behind excuses of drugs, pornography, lese
majeste or terrorism in order to justify censorship. In fact, censorship is a
primary symptom of insecure government.
Censorship in every country is always conducted in secret as if government has
something to hide from the citizens who pay for it. FACT calls for
transparency, accountability and public oversight in government, and genuine
free access to all government information.
Much government censorship is hidden behind protecting our children. We don't
need government to protect our children--that's a job for parents and
educators, people who actually care about each child and their development. It
is incumbent upon parents to supervise their children's activities and be
completely open to anything their children wish to discuss with them, including
difficult or sensitive issues. If you have children, raising them is your job.
Everyone must ask themselves one simple question: Is censorship ever justified?
A fully-informed public has free access to all information in order to make
responsible choices for their future.
True participatory democracy is possible using the medium of an unfettered
Internet. A free Internet is our fundamental human right.
FACT needs open minds and open hearts. Freedom is about raising consciousness.
We don't need a mass movement, we only need a resistance to repression. We
should all still be learning about this together.
Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)
A Buddhist goes up to a New York hotdog vendor
and says, "Make me one with everything".
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