Monday, August 18, 2008

The Turkish Blog Protest...

The government of Turkey plays a strong hand in web censorship, shutting down websites and blogs if any complaint is made to a lower court. As a result, Turkish bloggers are protesting this week by self-censoring themselves, posting a message on their pages that simply states: "The access to this web site is prevented by its owner's free will".

The question is whether voluntary self-censorship is an effective response to government-sponsored censorship?

As Michael Arrington describes, "Nearly 200 Turkish blogs have (temporarily) shut themselves down in this manner. The point is to show Turkish Web surfers what the Internet would look like if the censorship continues unabated. The protest will last until Wednesday."

But since when did self-imposed silence and capitulation ever overturn government censorship policies? Doesn't civil disobedience require the protester to continue their illicit activities despite the will of the authorities? The Turkish bloggers, in this case, are not only doing exactly what the government hopes they will do, but they're running as fast as possible to do it.

Internet uprisings don't exactly have the best history in terms of being effective. However, the approach that protesters take ought to, at the very least, not be counter-productive to their own goals and objectives.
  

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