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    07 February, 2005

    TV censorship US-style

    The veteran critic Frank Rich has an important article in the New York Times on the wave of TV censorship in the States since the Janet Jackson Superbowl incident last year.

    Right-wing libertarians used to argue in the late 1990s that the Internet was an anarchic, free space in which censorship couldn't happen. They were wrong about that, of course. (Since that would have allowed certain crimes to go unpunished, it was never a wholly desirable ambition, in any case). What it certainly did was make content regulation more difficult. It also allowed international political organisation on a grand scale. But that meant not just the anti-globalisation movement using the net to organise, but the more fundamentalist churches as well, which had always used technology (eg direct mail fundraising) to expand their message. Hence the barrage of emails aimed at the BBC over Jerry Springer - the Opera.

    No-one should ever believe that technological changes mean a fundamental change in power relationships per se. Often, they simply provide a new arena for old battles.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

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