Government Censorship of the Internet - public interest or interference?

This Site Has Been Blocked

internet censorship in the state of qatar
internet censorship in the state of qatar | Source

This Site Has Not Been Blocked...

...because this is Hubpages, a thoroughly respectable Internet domain. But the message above is what you see if you try to access any prohibited site in the State of Qatar. It is not just protecting minors; it is preventing everyone in the country from viewing prohibited sites. I'm not singling out Qatar for special mention. Many countries have similar policies. I just happen to live in Qatar so I have easy access to their prohibition notice. Most Americans and Europeans have never seen such a thing.

In a previous hub on Freedom of Speech, I asked whether such freedom was an absolute or relative 'right'. The comments were lively and varied, as clearly people feel passionately about such matters. Some of the comments touched on Internet censorship. Before going any further, I'd like to invite your vote on the issue:

Would you welcome State censorship of the Internet in your country?

  • yes
  • no
  • not sure
  • my country already has state censorship
See results without voting

Oops! New for 2010

qatar has replaced the stark blue censorship banner with this new 'fun version' but hasn't relaxed any of the bans.
qatar has replaced the stark blue censorship banner with this new 'fun version' but hasn't relaxed any of the bans. | Source

What is State censorship all about?

Qatar is a strongly Islamic country, though 80% of the populace are immigrant workforce who may or may not be Muslim. The government takes the view that pornography is anti-Islamic and should not be allowed in the country. Possession of pornographic material can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment and deportation. Pornography is treated in much the same way as illegal drugs, with similar consequences if caught. Viewed in that light, State censorship could be seen as protecting people from criminal activity, not just looking after their morals.

The problem comes, of course, with the definition of pornography. In Saudi Arabia a visitor can get into trouble for carrying beach photos of his wife and kids in swimsuits. Qatar is less strict. In the West, almost anything goes, (except child porn which is punishable by law). In other words, there is a continuum of acceptibility; there is no absolute standard.

It's not all about tits and bums

If State censorship were concerned only with 'cleaning up' the Internet, it would be no big deal. When all's said and done, it's hard to make a convincing case that free access to pornography is of any great benefit to humankind. There are bigger things to worry about. But if the censorship mechanism is put in place, one can't help asking - what else are they blocking?

If you were the Government Censor-in-Chief (in the UK it used to be the Lord Chamberlain, but that was before the Internet) what would you conceal behind your shiny new Prohibited banner? You might consider:

  1. pornography involving minors
  2. sado-masochistic and other 'fringe interest' pornography
  3. 'normal' hard-core pornography
  4. soft porn
  5. incitement to racial hatred
  6. opposing political opinion
  7. opposing religious or philosophical opinion
  8. art you consider degenerate
  9. competitors' promotional materials

and so forth. And this is the danger of calling for censorship. You may start out with the noblest intentions, but censorship itself is highly corruptible. It might seem best to proceed on a case by case basis, not by censorship but by prosecution of genuine offenders, on the grounds that if something is not illegal then it is legal and you have to live with it or change the law. But that doesn't work on the Internet where material sourced in a liberal country can be viewed in a strict country.

Then there is the Big Brother angle: is there a logging software triggered by every instance of someone trying to access a blocked site, perhaps registering the user IP address and the requested URL? You bet your life there is! Having opened my can of worms, let's close it with a revised poll:

Would you welcome State censorship of the Internet in your country?

  • yes
  • no
  • not sure
  • yes but only if I can be the censor
See results without voting

Is this legal in Qatar?

bacon bra
bacon bra | Source

I couldn't resist adding this picture. The Qatar censors would have a field day with it. Yes, she's covered, but with bacon strips, another banned product here. You can't buy or import any pork products...

Thank you for reading! Your comments are welcome.

More by this Author


Comments, newest on top 116 comments

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

You can enlarge on that, if you like.


MarkSantamaria 4 years ago

Censoringtheinternet couldsave millonsoflives.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

It's OK, I've found her - yes, one of the best on the boards :)


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Gus - thanks for commenting. I'm now going to check out you Venus hubber, but if I don't find her, I'll be asking you for a direct link.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 4 years ago from USA

Good Friend Paraglider - Just a very fine article, this one ! Nice work. Censorship can often be amusing, but sometimes it takes a bit of thought to see how it might be defeated or used to great advantage. Few do that very well, and when they do win their battles, it may take strenuous effort and thought for the rest of us to really see what they have accomplished. I have particular admiration for one of our better Hubbers whose most recent avatar (biograpical photo, if you prefer...) displays several things. Of those, her attitude toward unnecessary authority and restriction shouts out perhaps the loudest. Next might be her ordinary love of both history and beauty. Another might even be her commentary on the difficulties of writing. The avatar of the moment is a photo of the no-arm statue of a naked Venus di Milo. There must be at least one such censor-hater in every country. We are lucky here in the USA, for she allows us to share her great wit with our neighbor to the north, Canada.

Gus :-)))


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Maita - yes, that's what I've been hearing. A lot of Governments are becoming scared of the power that the web gives to the people.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 4 years ago from US

Hi Dave. I read this one again. It is starting to happen here now.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thank you :)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I just happened upon it today, so I thought I would share.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hey, thanks, SweetiePie, that's interesting. There's always a reason for sudden traffic surges, but living here in Qatar it's hard to know what's trending in US or Europe.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

There is a reason because of a new bill in US Congress talking about censoring the Internet, and penalizing people who might post a copyrighted song on their sites, etc: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011...


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

I notice that this one has suddenly had a surge in traffic today. Not sure why as none of the new visitors has left a comment.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Ladyeagle - the problem is finding universal agreement on what corrupts or causes dissension. Most people would ban child pornography because of what is involved in its production (abuse of minors) but there are not many other topics that are as universally deprecated.


ladyeagle_cdc profile image

ladyeagle_cdc 6 years ago from San Juan City, Philippines

Hi! interesting and controversial hub. NO offense to others but i'll go for censorship especially for sites that will corrupt our minds and cause dissension.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

jj - sadly, I think that State censorship is at least as common as the lack of it. Some countries censor politically and some 'morally'. Either way, it often backfires.


jj 6 years ago

China has sensorship laws and blocks most internet sites that can cause the general populace to become "aware" of certain things... like the previous politboro chairman, who was placed under house arrest for 16 years before he passed, who shall go unnamed as I am in china right now. Yet there are many, many massage parlors where you can get what you want to pay for. seems like maybe censorship is not to protect people, it's to protect the people in charge. and i am concerned that there will be a backlash because... this is China. thay can do what they want if you're in their backyard. I almost want to not send this, for concern regarding repercussions.Big Brother is watching to be sure.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

I'll probably take a few, and also find some writing time while I'm there. Here's where I'm going: http://hubpages.com/travel/Malvern-Worcestershire


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

oh it will be a cold Christmas for you, take a picture and write about it when you come back, just be safe, and take many many pictures, Maita


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Maita - I'm hoping the snow lasts until Christmas. I haven't seen a white Christmas for many years so it will be a welcome change. Flying overnight to arrive Christmas Eve morning.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

hey Dave, the last picture is very funny LOL, hahaha,,

bacon and the bra..

anyway when I answered your first poll I answered no and then I changed my mind in the socond poll, because I read child pornography but as you said regulation is also so so...

I dont like the idea of child pornography really, it is sickening, but I agree with your take of freedom as not absolute too,

When are you going home to Scottland, be safe, I saw snow in CNN, all over the world, wow, and it had caused problem in train from France to England, the Eurostar

and here too in the East Coast,

Happy holidays Dave, Maligayang Pasko to you and your family.

Maita


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

Shukran ghazeelan!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Yes, but even using a proxy server you can't download bacon!


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

Psst! Me talk about porn!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

What, bacon? Yes that's true. Nothing raises desire like scarcity.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

When it is available in abundance, the interest level drops ... even to minus 273! :lol:


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

opinion duck - thanks for commenting. I agree there is no country without censorship of one kind or another. Pornography is often cited as the reason for censorship that may then reach very much further into society. It has much to do with control.


opinion duck 7 years ago

Pornography is a word that is ambiguous, and its lattertude of interpretation shrinks and expands depending on who or what is using the word.

One Supreme Court Justice said, that he couldn't describe pornography but he knew it when he saw it.

Every culture has its own borders on pornography.

The word prurient pops up when describing pornography.

It is of no help however in making hard and fast rules about pornography.

The US was started by very conservative religious people and it was reflected in our early laws. It even went so far as to create Blue Laws, that prevented or limited doing work on Sundays.

We have all kinds of censorship today in the US. It may be less than that of 100 years ago, but it still exists.

What is wrong with nudity?

If everyone in the world just went naked, would that be pornographic? Maybe scarry but not pornographic.

Indecent exposure? Being naked in public, it may be rude but should it be a crime?

Puritans made a lot of laws and value for us and many of time are still active.

Sex for money -- illegal

Sex for dinner and a show -- legal

Sex without consent -- illegal

Sex between a person and an animal -- illegal

Writing about sex can be legal or illegal depending on how graphic is the writing.

Pictures of sex can be legal or illegal depending on the venue, as for example magazines, movies and internet.

Where the line is to make the legal or illegal determination is unclear.

In a democracy, there is a chance for the people to make changes that better suit them. Places run by dictatorships, anarchies or religion don't have that option.

I don't have the answer.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

ALB21467 - That's a fair analogy. The Internet has no borders, so it is like chucking garbage over the fence. It's just that what the state authority considers garbage might not be seen that way by the people.


ALB21467 profile image

ALB21467 7 years ago from United Arab Emirates

Basically nobody wanted censorship! I agree with freedom of speech and expresion! But, every country has their own rules wether we like or it not, we have to respect it it you live in that country!

As an example, if you have a house and a compound, if somebody vandalized or throw some garbage in your backyard you will not like that! Same in a country!

That is my simple explanation of censorship in other countries!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Maggs224 - thank you for visiting and commenting. The signs are that state censorship in the Gulf region is tightening up rather than relaxing, as Saudi extends its influence over neighbours.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain

An excellent hub full of thought provoking ideas and comments


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Jon - there's a very short trail from Paraglider to my real name. Anyone who wants to can find me. But I say my piece without naming names so I'm probably OK. It keeps me sane!


JonTutor profile image

JonTutor 7 years ago from USA

You gotta watch out for those fundamentalists.... are they cool with your writing efforts.... nice perspective about middle east.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

John - you are right. First persuade the populace that they need censorship, then provide it, as a public service. With luck, no-one will ever notice!


john guilfoyle profile image

john guilfoyle 7 years ago

thought provoking hub-thanks..

we have it here in amerika....it's just so subtle in its contrivance that most people will be caught unaware until it's too late...it's a drag...fear-the prime motivator...any psychologist will tell u that.

It's amazing how slick they are at getting us to do it to ourselves...I won't elaborate beyond the fact that I have encountered steadily increasing difficulties attempting to obtain information I seek...sadly, as you have so astutely indicated, once this process is put into effect.....

peace 2u my friend

may good fortune protect u


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Qatar is certainly not alone. I know about China but have not been there. Other places where I've experienced Internet censorship first hand are, UAE (including 'liberal' Dubai), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. These countries also take down private blogs they don't like, nearly always for criticising the state.


newsworthy 7 years ago

Today, paraglider, with China blocking twitter and other social networking sites two days before the 20th anniversary of the Chinese Tiananmen, it seems Qatar is not alone.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

In other words, no! :)


newsworthy 7 years ago

Re, can be it done without slowing down the network?

Regrets paraglider, the record setting escapologist breaking free from his straightjacket whilst hanging upside down from a burning rope 160 feet off the ground could possibly have that answer.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Yes, like 'the contents may be hot' on coffee cups...


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida

He was deployed to Iraq, and got a few days of time off, I guess. I don't remember all the details, but I think he was at Doha, but got to spend some time off of the base. I agree that once censorship starts, it's very hard to stop. So far, here, they just put ratings and warning labels on everything.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Anna Marie - If he was on the military base, he probably wouldn't have been aware of the censorship for the civilian population. Qatar has some attractive desert and a few ok beaches, but I don't think Doha can be called beautiful - it's more of a building site! Censorship could kick off in the US, I think, under the guise of child protection. But once it starts, it's hard to stop.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida

Reading this makes me glad I live in the United States!!! My ex-husband has been to Qatar during his time in the military, and he told me it was a beautiful place. I was not aware of the extreme censorship that takes place there, and elsewhere. I believe in censoring what your children are exposed to on the internet, but I could never imagine if my own government were to do the same thing to me. Sadly, I don't think such things are too far off, even for a country like the US.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi William - Yes, I've read yours too. I agree censorship never solves anything. The 'problem' if it is a genuine one will always morph to reappear somewhere else. Thanks for the read :)


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Another great hub, Paraglider. Censorship is never right. It's always an attempt to correct a problem by seeking "the easy way out" of it. There are no easy answers. I wrote a column on the subject in 1993, which became a hub in 2007, and I'm sure we'll be talking about again 100 years from now. Whether it's pornography or politics, imposing censorship always will backfire eventually. The only way to approach these unsolvable problems is through thorough and open debate, as you've inspired here.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Newsworthy - auto detection and elimination of viruses and malware before it ends up on users' machines? Interesting idea. I wonder if it could be done without slowing down the whole network? Not sure.


newsworthy 7 years ago

The only preventative measure that I forsee as admirable for censorship of the internet is to protect equipment.  It can be costly if damaged.

Information was transmitted many different other ways before internet.

As for the behaviour of users; that too was just as crafty before internet.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

By Qatar standards, yes!


Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

Bacon Boobs? You are a rebel.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Peggy - visible censorship is very hard to live with. But as some have mentioned, invisible censorship (e.g. by ownership of the media) can be a creeping disease in society.

Lgali - thanks for commenting.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

I agree with all those that do not favor much in the way of censorship. Imagine the book Black Beauty being banned! Ridiculous!

I also agree that living by a set of laws is the most important aspect of co-existing peacefully in a society. Example.....shouting "FIRE" if there is one...great. Doing the same thing if there is not a fire...wrong, and the person should be prosecuted because of the damage and potential loss of life that might have occurred by his doing so.

Same freedom of expression to shout the word "fire" but censored in a correct way via the laws in place.

Thoughtful hub.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

very sad about this ban thnaks


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Bill Yon - I don't live in the US, but I am an occasional visitor and I agree that censorship there is /has been on the increase for the past several years. I don't think the US would tolerate a Qatar-style in-your-face 'ban banner', but many of the same people who would cry foul if it were introduced are probably barely aware of the censorship (by any other name) that is already in place.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

save4later - it is certainly part of the process. Thanks for commenting.


bill yon profile image

bill yon 7 years ago from sourcewall

I don't like censorship period.but like it or not censorship is every where even here in the USA.look at all the hell miss California is catching.judges ask her a question,she answers,and now she's fighting for her career.another thing minorities such as myself experience censorship on a large scale example national geographic did a documentary on king tut forensic scientist tested his mummy and found that he was a 17 year old African black man,after the show a watched a part of it on YouTube,went back to YouTube to get the html and it was completely gone still trying to find it and i will find it.mass media makes movies about the Egyptians and portray them as white so censorship exists in the USA too.and its getting worse rent some movies from the seventies and eighties and rent some movies today and look at the difference,they had a lot more freedom to make movies back then now half the stuff that came out in the 70's and 80's would be banned today.censorship is real and its happening every where.


save4later 7 years ago

censorship is a prerequisite to elimating free speech.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Pam - not sure it would hold together for long in the heat of a Qatar summer. Most people here seem to agree about censorship, but this is the Internet so that's not really a surprise!


pgrundy 7 years ago

My dog thinks that bacon bra is a great idea. I shouldn't have let him read your hub. But, like you, I don't think censorship is a good idea, so now I have to listen to him go on and on about it...

A small price to pay for freedom though. :)


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

???? - the problem then is, how do we ensure that our State censors are only removing genuinely bad stuff and leaving free access to legitimate opinion? (I tried to copy & paste your name but it wouldn't work - it means 'free spirit', I think?)


自由天使 profile image

自由天使 7 years ago from the world

I believe that there should be a control, we must fight against such evils problems as pedophilia or terrorism, but the censorship on issues such as religion or ideology ... NO they can not and they must not be subject to censorship.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

tdarby - yes, I liked it. To the censor's mind, is she more acceptable with or without the bacon??

prasetio - there are always ways and means, but the proxies are also quickly discovered and blocked, besides which it's unwise to draw attention to yourself here.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

Try to use proxy site, or proxy server . or use opera10 browser use speed. with tip maybe we can enter block site.


tdarby profile image

tdarby 7 years ago

The picture is hilarious. Especially in the context of the banned "pork" issue. I can't stand state censorship of any kind.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Get thee behind me, Salieri ...


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

I thought death mostly stopped him.

(edit: ok, I just got that. ROFL.)


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

So had Mozart. It's just as well they stopped him writing music, isn't it!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

I know. I'm so mousy and respectful all the time, people don't realize I have opinions... much less a penchant for profanity. No, seriously, I do.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Shades - I can't imagine you ever saying anything provocative...


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Lita - there's plenty room for another hub on free speech, especially since you'd certainly have a valuable take on it. You're right about expectations. Here, it would be quite surprising if there was no state censorship. The state is in every aspect of 'private' life.

At work here, you are also likely to hit the Corporate IT blocked message before the State of Qatar one.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

I have to hold my tongue constantly. Here. At work. Everywhere. We are never free to just say what we want except in the presence of those few, rare, super rare beings we call "friends." True friends, "best" friends. We get very few of those. Very few.

And, Para, as an answer your question, I would have to say, "Because someone always has to be dominant." It's why we have one head and one ass... something has to decide or we'd be at an eternal impass unless everyone always agreed on everything. Think of Dr. Doolittle's "Push me pull you." You wouldn't get very far like that.


Leta S 7 years ago

I was writing a hub on free speech, but seems you beat me to it--a couple times...!  So, I've been doing some reading on it....Stanley Fish suggests that there is no such thing as free speech--that the 'idea' of free speech is especially valued in more open society where it is a political prize more than anything else and that no society has ever existed where freedom of speech was not limited somewhat.  In some societies censorship is really no big deal culturally--perhaps in Qatar--there are no expectations. 

But I think universally speaking, it is always about a balance of rights--I of course come down  heavily towards freedom of expression.

And yes--I have seen that blocked sign.  At work, every day.  That's why, ultimately, our freedom of speech politically is so important in the US, :).


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Shadesbreath - the military wing of political correctness! It's pervasive in UK too, though not (yet) to such an extent. Interesting, though, how censorship, of whatever form, is often of a majority by a minority. Why should that have come about?


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

We have censorship here in the U.S. it's just not as obvious at the moment because it doesn't come directly from the State. It's sneakier, wrought by mechanisms that understand how our "free" society work, so the system is manipulated. There are all sorts of words, concepts and ideas that are taboo in the workforce, with legal penalties for failure to comply. Take porn for example.

Say there's an office of 30 people, and 29 of them enjoy a good laugh at some sexual whatever, joke, internet video... etc. If one person is offended, they can file suit. The company and individuals are at risk if they do not curtail their behavior, and therefore all enjoyment of any risque humor in the workplace where 29 of 30 people spend a massive percentage of their time, day after day, week after week, year after year must stop to appease the tyranical rule (via the courts) of an individual. One person gets to dictate the behavoir, speech and expression of the rest. That is censorship. It is rampant in the U.S.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

I can see a difference between what a society chooses to teach and what it simply makes available. No-one is teaching pornography (though some would say Hollywood does exactly that). People want freedoms, including freedom to consume and pollute, freedom of speech, freedom of information. That's one of the reasons the Internet is making such inroads into the TV viewership. The traditional media are censored by their owners and political masters. The Internet less so, still. Except in countries like Qatar. I agree with you that often it's the children who suffer, but I don't think blanket censorship is the answer. In theory, your approach of attacking the problem at source is more rational, but fraught with difficulties. I don't think we're going to solve it here!


SirDent 7 years ago

Is educating actually any different than censeroship? Whod ecides what is taught and what isn't taught?

A 5 litre engine might be badl for the environment, but what does it have to do with our children and what they are allowed to see or not?

I am not trying to be difficult, but trying to see other sides. I must say it isn't an easy thing to truly grasp.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

The problem is that 'pleasures' are also relative. I could make a strong case that cars with engines bigger than 1000 cc are unnecessary and harmful. There's nothing right, decent or good about a 5-litre Land Cruiser. So should we ban them too? I prefer the (possibly hopeless) idea that we should educate people to make good choices. But I'll agree it's not easy.


SirDent 7 years ago

I am thinking of writing another hub soon on love and how it has waxed cold. I also understand that porn will not be gotten rid of completely mostly because so many would rather keep it and take a chance their children will be exposed to it.

All and all I see a society that loves pleasures more than what is right, what is decent, and what is good.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thanks for posting, SirDent. You said similar things on your hub on pornography so your views are as I would have expected. Possibly you'll think this a defeatist attitude, but I do not really see how society could rid itself of porn, even if most people wanted to. It would be logistically impossible. As I said on this hub, I'm more concerned about the wider issue of political censorship than about pornography, except when it comes to protecting children who are usually not much into politics anyway.

BTW, I don't think there'll be much backlash as this hub has started to fade away :)


SirDent 7 years ago

I have thought on this for a while now and have come up with my comment.

In the US, (in general), we want our porn and other things that are really detrimental to society as whole. What I see is that we keep things that harm our children, even though we don't want our children to see it.

We can do everything we can to hide things from them, but they will find it soon enough anyway. The only way to keep children from seeing these things is to eliminate them completely.

Take my son for instance. He goes to public school. He hears a lot of things that we don't want him to hear from his peers. Though he knows these things are wrong for him to speak, it is hard for him not to be like his peers. If those things were eliminated completely, he would not have to hear them.

I also know that society will not allow these things to be eliminated. We have waxed cold in our love for our children even. We would rather be peers with our children than to be parents. We allow dangerous things to come in contact with them all while stating that we have the right to view what we want to view.

I expect a lot of backlash from many regarding my comment.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

You should have kept him, preferably in Alice Springs...


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Murdoch, one of Australia's fine exports!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Because of my timezone, I don't usually get involved in extended brawls. Sometimes I'll go to bed and get up to find the same group have been slugging it out all night! Life's too short.


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

Too much brawling at the forums for my taste, though you've a good idea there, mining for topics.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Smart guy, Voltaire :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

Voltaire said "I disagree completely with what you say, but will defend to the death, your right to say it".


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Roastedpinebark (interesting name!) I agree with you that individual filters like the 'moderate safe search' are the best way to screen stuff from children, along with supervision of course. But blanket censorship is a dangerous path.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

CWB - That's absolutely right. Ownership of the media by the Murdoch types is also a major form of control. BTW, most of the controversial issues I look at grow out of forum conversations, where to explain or explore a different view would take forever.


roastedpinebark profile image

roastedpinebark 7 years ago from Iowa

I think we should have the freedom to view what we want to, even though I don't do that stuff and it wouldn't affect me the ways it would for many others until the gov't got out of hand.  At my school, they have filters which only affect me by banning blogger.com but hubpages is still up.  To protect children, set up filters on your own computers at home if you're worried.  I think the gov't stepping in would get out of hand and snowball like many past hubbers have commented.  Thank you for a great hub and the experience you share with us, Paraglider!


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

The road to hell...everyone knows the rest of that old adage.

Does it occur to anyone how heavily the media in America has been censored for at least the last eight years? Censorship by omission is censorship nonetheless.

Such a prickly issue. You seem fond of them Paraglider. What a mixer you are. Seriously, you do us all a favor by provoking critical thinking. There just doesn't seem to be quite enough of it around these days.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Marisue - one technical problem is that pornography, especially visual pornography, is easily detected by software, while to keep hate speech off the Internet would require far more human intervention. So the relatively harmless stuff is actually easier to get rid of than the genuinely dangerous stuff. In an ideal world, no-one would want to produce such material, but the world is far from ideal. Thanks for commenting - always welcome! 


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

I think censorship of verbal discourse must be carefully considered or one brand of thinking would be forced upon another, creating hositility and oppression, of which the world has more than enough. Yet, hate speech, as we all agree, tho' subjective to a point, is pretty clear in the extreme. Anything that incites someone to enact violence to another over that person's beliefs or harmless behavior is not to be tolerated. Still the boundaries are constantly evolving and I think we need to accept that it will not be a perfect condition as long as "mankind" is the judge.

For example, there exists the extreme views against abortion, death to an unborn child, yet will bomb and kill to enforce their "respect for life."

unbelievable.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Jerilee - I'd be surprised if the US accepted the 'blocked site' version, but something like search engine filtering would be easier to slip under the radar. People who know more than me might tell us it's already happening?


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Don't know if it's true but I've heard recently that congress here is working on giving our government the authority to do this. Wouldn't surprise me in the least. Thought provoking hub as usual.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Qatar is an interesting mixture. In some ways, they are trying to reach out to the world, by hosting political summits and conferences and sponsoring major sporting events. But in other areas they can be very restrictive. I think the society will eventually have to open up. But on the other hand, they could buy and sell half the world if they wanted, so they don't really 'have to' do anything!


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

Every country has it´s censorship methods, but I would not want to live in country which applies them - so directly as Qatar. Feels like being in prison... I agree with you - who knows what else they hide as well.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Dennis - I agree that it is the right of individual removable governments to draw boundaries (i.e. apply censorship), except in those cases where the applicable constitution does not afford them that right. The US would find it difficult to apply Qatar-style censorship as there would be public outcry. But I didn't start this hub as an exercise in Qatar-bashing. More as an example of culture-difference, and to trigger a discussion (which seems to be happening!)


DennisBarker profile image

DennisBarker 7 years ago from Newcastle Upon Tyne,UK

I would not like to live in a country with this kind of censorship of information, neither would I like to live in a country which thinks that imposing its own values on the rest of the planet without permission via media, war, religious evangelism or whatever is spreading the American Dream. There are two sides to the issue (as always) and it is governments and parliaments we trust to draw the boundaries on our behalf. I do not always agree with where the boundaries are drawn but I respect the right of each country to draw its own boundary. The american dream can become an american nightmare when things go wrong as we are seeing in the financial services industry and the global economy at the moment.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thanks Benson :)

(But you're not advertising are you?? ;)


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 7 years ago from Hong Kong

I'm also glad that this message is never seen in HK. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.

Dr Benson Yeung

http://doctorshealthtips.com


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

I've been here for four years and in the Gulf for about seven. I can feel a change coming on though. Malaysia appeals. Who knows...


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