The Australian Communication and Media Authority – a media content regulating body has come out strongly to bar some oversea internet sites from being accessed albeit criticisms from not only oversea internet website owners but also some of her citizens. The reasons as advanced by this body are that, internet use is non-discriminatory. This means that, the age of the users does not matter to the internet content developers. The aim, according to this body, is not to deter consumers from accessing the sites they want to but instead, to protect consumers who may suffer negative consequences because of exposure to explicit media content.
These consumers mostly include the children who are not adequately protected by the Child Online Protection Act. Importance of regulation Mitigation of insecurity deems of importance to the government as it comes to online information access. Cyber crime which include spam, hacking, online fraud, malware dissemination as well cyber bullying and grooming have detrimental effects on unsuspecting or naive users such as elderly people (Newton, 2008). Stalkers are also posing danger to individual’s security. Through censorship, the government endeavors to alleviate all these.
Concisely, the government aims to regulate the online content, boost online security as well as uphold moral standards as required by the society. The government also aims at creating a more responsible population in economy building within the country through helping them learn how to protect their information, be it business of personal during use (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008). Channels of internet abuse The use of social media sites is on the increase. People who use these sites are on an upward trend, and proliferation of commission of crime are continues to increase.
This is what the government is working hard to avoid by censoring access to some online sites at certain points within the internet transmission channels. The fact that internet service providers cannot hinder one to access whichever site he/she wants to puts the users of their service security at stake (Talbot, 2009). Inappropriate materials like pornography or even media violence cannot be controlled by these service providers because everybody asserts that they have freedom to information access and information dissemination.
Online sex is on the increase and rendered incapable of determining who should participate in such or who should not, service providers can only play it safe when they block everybody. The government though does not intend to hinder everything but to create an environment of online responsibility by abating interactions online and having the appropriate content online only accessed. In his view, Gaylord (1999) argues that, internet service providers need to create a culture of responsibility by the users through establishing and overseeing the implementation of code of conduct whilst using internet.
Parents play a great role in this censorship as they should control what their children do online. This is only possible by the use digital technology in order to block the inappropriate site. Criticism of regulation Many critics of this kind of control argue that their freedom to information is being curtailed. In the academic field, the move seems detrimental as viable information which is of academic value may be filtered at some points in the control system, as it may be grouped inappropriate (McCarthy, 2005).
The question to most critics is that, ‘why deter freedom to access information? Some information might seem inconsequential to the government, but of great use to online writers and researchers. Blocking of some sites will lead curtailing of freedom of expression and part of leisure. Critics argue that the process of censoring has hitches and therefore need not to be implemented. In other countries like the US it has not worked and has proved otherwise counterproductive as those blocked from accessing some of these sites and images are students who really need that information for their study (Thierer, 2003).
This led to massive protests creating a row between students and the administration. The same might happen in Australia. The advancement of technology might overthrow the control mechanism the government is advocating. This is because, the use of circumvention program will make all the efforts null and void as this endeavors to surpass censorship in all perspectives. According to Johnson, (2010), each time a national censor blocks news sites and You Tube, or an ISP or website loses or sells or gives away user data, people will seek solutions.
In an article published by Electronic frontiers (2006), critics of this move argue that censoring will be a total waste of tax payer’s money. This is because most of the explicit materials that lead to exposure to sexually explicit material are distributed manually rather than through the internet. Therefore, censoring may not hamper children from accessing such content or participating in immoral activities as they will continue accessing these obscene materials. According to critics, regulating internet content is curtailing freedom.
This is because one will not have the freedom to expression, through publishing something via the internet. A true free country like Australia should not do such a thing as it will not only portray it in the negative but it will also have a negative impact on the people who visit from other liberal countries (Dobija, 2007). Australia having a certain level of influence over other Western democracies, it might influence them to undertake the measures it is advocating to take, thus creating a kind of communist empire.
Communism is oppressive, meaning that people in the countries affiliated to Australia will no longer be free in information sharing as they are. This is because, of the censored materials, most are unclassified and the scope of this information is very wide. Conclusion Though this censorship is a contentious issue, it should be put in mind that for as long as human beings yearn for freedom, unregulated freedom might be disastrous. On the other hand, high handedness might not solve the looming stalemate.
Therefore the government and the die hard critics of this regulation should work together to reach to an amicable solution. This should however be done without having to suppress many individuals who use internet content. The government should let the individuals to regulate for themselves whatever they need to use, of course with education and awareness on the need to protect the vulnerable groups like the children (Corsa, 2008).
This is because such regulation would put many internet users at ransom and freedom of expression would be a thing of the past. For example, regulation in China has made many not to be able to express themselves freely or even access information that deem of importance. The same applies to Zimbabwe where many journalists are hindered to post online content depicting violence or scenes of suppression and oppression as a way of government protectionism.
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