The Anti-Islam Cartoon and Internet Censorshop

Should there be stricter laws on censorship when we come to the matter of religion?  The problem is that we live in a globalised world nowadays.  Twenty years ago a cartoon picking fun on a Muslim prophet would have passed by with hardly a blip.   The thousands of people protesting in Asia, Middle East and Africa would have simply not have heard about it never mind be offended.

The power is actually quite incredible that one man in an office somewhere in the USA can with a rubbish cartoon, a home computer and a Youtube account offend a thousands in Cairo.  Of course there are always going to be people with ideas and beliefs that are offensive to to others.

The reality is that if any religion gets itself so worked up about something being offensive posted on the internet – well they’re going to have to remain pretty much permanently offended.  Countries like the US are very protective about self expression and there are many other countries just the same.  Everyone’s religion gets criticised all the time, one would hope that it would make very difference to the religion itself.

It’s unlikely that a Youtube film is going to do any lasting harm to any religion, however the reaction of it’s members may do long term harm.  In the end a stupid film like this would have been largely ignored and ridiculed, however in the end the religion itself is looking worse simply because of the huge over reaction.

The best way to deal with hate speech is open debate and honest responses – sacking peaceful embassies, killing innocents and crazed flag burning is completely unacceptable to most people.  Already governments and companies use these incidents as excuses to filter the internet.  If people violently protest against Youtube and Facebook posts they will just encourage their Governments to censor these sites.  Already companies block access to information – you can’t even watch the BBC Iplayer abroad without something like this video to change to a UK IP address.  If Governments start to do the same then pockets of the world will become ever more isolated.

John Stark

Writer, blogger and generally opinionated.  I like travelling with my laptop, a digital camera, usb key loaded with software to help me access sites like this – http://dnsproxy.co.uk/dns-proxy-for-netflix/ – because my favorite netflix site is inaccessible from half the places I visit !