Sunday, June 12, 2005

No "Democracy" on MSN Spaces

Regarding the choice of platform for your weblog, here's one argument against using MSN Spaces:
Microsoft's new Chinese internet portal has banned the words "democracy" and "freedom" from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing's political censors.

Blogging is the antithesis of totalitarianism, so this is Big News in the blogosphere.

8 comments:

Vesper said...

oh. my. god. It's treating "democracy" and "freedom" exactly like swear words. I hope that never happens with blogger, or there will be some protesting in store.

Vesper said...

Here's a hilarious post about blogging addiction. I share it because I think I'm suffering from the addiction: :)
http://middlewesterner.typepad.com/middlewesterner/2005/02/the_blogging_ad_1.html

Dr. S.A. Ogden said...

Not me - I can quit anytime I want to ;--)

Neat link too btw.

Steve said...

From BBC News:

China recently introduced stringent regulations that require all blog owners to register their web journal with the state by 30 June.

The regulations require the writer of a blog to identify themselves to the authorities.

According to Reporters Without Borders, China is using a system called Night Crawler to patrol web journals and make sure that only registered blogs are published. Unregistered blogs will be shut down.


This is even scarier, although I personally don't blame Microsoft; it isn't really in their interest to piss off the Chinese government.

Steve said...

Whoops! The link is here.

Vesper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kristine said...

Although the censorship of blogs containing words such as “freedom” and “democracy” is appalling, it is also a testament to the power of cyber dialogue. As the Chinese government scrambles to regulate the discourse of its citizens, it simultaneously legitimizes the bloggesphere as an environment where people with like minds can network and important issues can be debated.

Although it is terrifying to think of the power of governments and organizations (MSN) to censor the views of internet users, it may be useful to keep in mind the hopeful words of Naomi Klein who reminds her readers that for every fence that is erected in the face of dialogue, this dialogue finds a new window through which to escape. Hence, this censorship demands that a new form for dialogue be erected, since it is obvious from all the regulatory action going on that there must be a lot of people who are interested in talking.

Vesper said...

Definitely. The fact that there is censorship in the first place means that people are speaking freely. Let's just hope the people stand up for themselves instead of getting sucked in... People often get silent when they are threatened.