Owen Barritt (hmmm_tea) wrote,
Owen Barritt

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So, over the past couple of days both lj and twitter have exploded with people discontent about some of the books Amazon had apparently decided to censor from it's recommendations. As a spokesman from Amazon has since claimed it was a glitch, so hopefully everything should be rectified soon, whatever the reason behind it, they appear to realise now that it would be a mistake.

However, this has got me thinking about censorship. It's a topic that makes me very uneasy, because I can't see how it can fit in a society based on freedom of speech and, although I can see some of the arguments for it, it seems all too common for censorship to go too far and inappropriately over censor.

While, these topics are more widely accepted by society nowadays, there's still a number of people out there who are uncomfortable with homosexuality and Amazon will behave in whatever way they feel will protect their own customer base. They do have the right to decide what they sell and how their recommendations work, but in the same way we have the right to protest and go and shop somewhere else instead, and in this case it appears the uproar has succeeded in getting the issue resolved.

It does make me think, what would we allow them to get away with censoring though?

To consider the censoring of a viewpoint I don't agree with, while I was at Cambridge, both Nick Griffin and Jean-Marie Le Pen came to talk at the union and there were a lot of protests as a result. At the time, I couldn't help but thinking, that much as I strongly disagreed with their views, they did have a right to express them and it would be wrong of us to deny this to them. After all, giving them the opportunity to express these views in public forum is very different to giving them the opportunity to express them through government policy.

So, it does make me wonder, that much as we might like to protect ourselves and our children from certain issues or viewpoints, perhaps this is entirely the wrong thing to do? Surely, it just endangers us of becoming a society brought up entirely on one side of the story?
Tags: blogging, censorship & protectivism, commerce, free speech, livejournal & its offshoots, twitter

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