The Null Device
The Chinese city of Chongqing has enacted a law which bans satire on the internet:
The rules target Web users "who spread information or remarks defaming others, launch personal attacks or damage others' reputations online," the official Xinhua News Agency said. Potential violations include posting online video "to satirize others or social phenomena."Online satire has become a big problem in China, a society where any challenge to the government's authority is taken very seriously:
Video spoofs have become so popular that Chinese have coined a new slang term, "egao," to describe the act of using real film clips to create mocking send ups.
Government film regulators announced new rules in August meant to rein in the "egao" fad by allowing only authorized major Web sites to show short films online.Laws prohibiting sarcasm and irony and strictly regulating the use of other rhetorical devices are expected soon.
A new study puts forward the argument that exposure to television in early childhood may trigger autism. The paper established correlations between autism rates and rates of early childhood TV viewing, and increases in autism in 3 US states with the growth of cable television in those states, and suggests that some children may be susceptible to autism but may not develop it unless exposed to environmental triggers, of which television viewing is one.
Under a new European Commission proposal, any web sites featuring moving images may soon be subject to the same regulations as broadcast television:
Ministers fear that the directive would hit not only successful sites such as YouTube but also amateur "video bloggers" who post material on their own sites. Personal websites would have to be licensed as a "television-like service".Didn't they introduce a law like this in Australia a few moral panics ago? What has been the experience there? Have web sites taken down video content because of it? Or is it tacitly recognised that the law is unworkable and that its purpose is to provide a new offence for which otherwise legitimate troublemakers can be prosecuted where expedient?