Monday, 15 November 2010

Old Holborn and Censorship

I've been asked to answer a few questions pertaining to censorship and blogging, so I thought I'd answer them here

1. How would you be affected if all blogs were censored by the state?
Nothing revolts a Libertarian more than an interfering state. I do not need the permission of the State to think, therefore it is inconceivable that state censorship in any form would stop me from speaking. I would simply move my blog to a location unaffected by the State. Iceland for example.

2. How bad would it have to get before you stopped or gave up trying to share information and opinions?

The blog is merely the modern extension of writing on a wall, or a printing a leaflet. I wouldn't stop until I was physically stopped and then I would fight. The Internet is open, it cannot be closed. They would, quite literally, have to pull my keyboard out of my cold dead fingers. This is not hyperbole. To censor my blog would equate to the State stuffing a rag in my mouth, something that would not be tolerated.

3. We live in a country which seems to have relative freedom of speech and a right to remain anonymous. What is your opinion of bloggers such as those in China where some “cyber dissenters” are serving sentences of over ten years? Could you be one of those people?

Most certainly. You stand for something or you fall for everything. The State will tell you that you do not have the "right" to remain anonymous any more than you have a "right" to free speech. It is an offence not to name your child or register their birth with the State. It is an offence not to identify yourself upon arrest by the Police. It is an offence to joke that you may blow up an airport or refuse to show your passport at immigration. It is an offence to suggest that Yasmin Alibi Brown needs to be stoned to death. The myth of free speech is just that. a myth. If I recite out loud a list of the war dead in Afghanistan in public on Parliament Green, I WILL be arrested with force by the State.

I would courteously remind the State that rights are what you are born with, not what you are given. The anonymous voice is the most powerful voice there is because it is not open to personal attack. It is also feared the most by those in power. One of the reasons that all dissidents must be named and shamed by the State. Alas, as the East Germans found out, the anonymous voice can achieve anything.

4. People who blog about the things you do don’t tend to go down without a fight. What would your reaction be if censorship was mandated in the U.K.?
Up and off. The white wall that is the internet belongs to no one and can be read by anyone. Existing legislation (D notices, super injunctions etc) already exist to censor, but the law cannot silence an anonymous man in a mask. I am Spartacus, not a journalist. As are my readers.

5. Individuals, companies, the police and even the government have tried to silence U.K. bloggers on certain issues in the past. Have you ever been affected by censorship, or has anyone ever attempted to censor or silence your blog posts? If so, in which ways?

There is no censorship or moderation on the Old Holborn site for a specific reason. No one can persecute me for owning a white wall. I am not responsible for what is written upon it any more than London Transport are responsible for what is written on the back seats of their buses or BT in their phone boxes. I don't carry adverts, so no one can sue my advertisers and I steal all the photos I use as I make no profit from them (a legal point). I do not, nor ever intend to make a single penny out of blogging. It is simply my voice, and those of my commentators, my other contributors (who I have no idea who they really are) and my readership.

I have taken plenty of vitriol, spite, jealousy, venom, abuse and insults from my detractors and commentators. I know I will always be held to account. But then again, how can an anonymous man in a mask who could be any of us take any of it personally?

Oh, and have no fear. None. It is a waste of time and emotion. One life, live it.

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