Round-ups of Saturday December 13th’s Anti-Censorship rallies #nocleanfeed

I’ve done a round-up of the Brisbane anti-Internet-censorship rally, which you can read if you click here. This week I’m going to trawl through the Internet and publish similar round-ups for each city’s rally. I’ll edit this post with links to each round-up. If anyone has any pictures, videos, articles etc they think need to be in the round-ups, please leave a comment here.

I’m putting links in each round-up to some of the comments already on this site, and to keza’s article on putting the blame for sexualising children squarely on Rudd, Hamilton etc, to spark some debate among anti-censorship people.

11 Responses to “Round-ups of Saturday December 13th’s Anti-Censorship rallies #nocleanfeed”

  1. 1 Rosie Williams

    As the parent of an eighteen year old who has grown up with the internet, the issue of protecting children from unwanted explicit images and content is an interesting one. It is hard to know if people want constructive criticism on campaining or not but I would imagine a sausage sizzle would be more attractive to families with younger children or a pub crawl for the young adult crowd. Sounds more fun than listening to speeches. Plus I only saw the url in a couple of places but perhaps the mainstream media did not want to get behind publicising the events or there was not enough time to get the message out? Still, there’s plenty of time left to raise awareness of the issue throughout a broader base of people. My son Brenton Fletcher’s blog post on the Adelaide rally was posted to Slashdot and is number one news story for Google News under the search term ‘internet censorship’. So it was certainly an interesting weekend for us.

  2. 2 youngmarxist

    Hi Rosie, thanks very much for your comment and your ideas. All constructive criticism is very welcome indeed. I’m not so sure about a pub crawl, I think it would be very difficult to get people to discuss things seriously in the middle of that! But the idea of a sausage sizzle, were like-minded people could meet, debate and discuss is a good one. I had a quick chat with Jasmine, the main Brisbane organiser after the Saturday rally here finished, and we agreed that we need ideas that aren’t just about rallies. BTW if you haven’t already, you may want to read Arthur’s comment about what we should be achieving at rallies – giving people ammunition to use when they talk to others, and organising them.

    With the media, I think the main issue might have been that the Adelaide organising team didn’t have a lot of experience in contacting them (though this is a guess). I was handling Brisbane’s publicity, and we got a reasonable media haul before the rally – the Courier-Mail, Mx (the free commuter paper), 4BC (a news/talk station), The Independent (a local inner-city paper), just off the top of my head.

    I saw Brenton’s blog article yesterday when I was gathering reports on the rallies. That’s some nice work, getting slashdotted and top of Google! It feels really good when you see something you’ve produced take off – reminds you that you’ve got some power and know how to use it.

    BTW I’d be very interested in your response to this article here on Strange Times by keza, suggesting that we need to go in harder and lay some real blame on the Government for interfering with free speech.

  3. 3 Rosie Williams

    Hi youngmarxist, I’m still getting used to all the new media. Slashdot seemed to work far better than Digg. I’d be interested in how you use them? Yes, it was great for Brenton get involved in something he cares about, it has certainly given him a new perspective on life. He and I often have quite different opinions on certain issues and this campaign prompted some interesting dinner table conversation and given us a framework to further informed discussion.You could be right about the pubs, I spend next to no time in them but late afternoon I thought they might still be quiet enough for people to converse. I thought it woudl be a good way for people to just come up and ask about the issue over a beer without all the formality of listening to speeches in the street- kind of like a viral speech if you like. You asked about the Strange Times post. I’m not fond of the Bill Henson photographs. I think many parents find them confronting to say the least. I think the campaign could benefit from some female voices and faces. I don’t mean myself incidentally, I found that I looked similar to the other protestors (quite a surprise to me as I normally feel like a square peg) whereas I think you want someone who looks a bit more like your average suburban mother-and not someone with an agenda. I make this suggestion because this issue will affect the average mums and dads out there. I see it as an issue that will affect everyone and I’d like to see the campaign imagery and rhetoric reflect that. Maybe Getups ads will do that?Personally I’m most concerned that the filter will not work which makes me wonder why the government is attempting to implement it? It makes me wonder about alterior motives. I dont’ like alterior motives as the dishonesty is inconsistent with democracy. I’m also concerned about the recent suggestions in the media to give all Aust police tasers after the death of the fifteen year old in Victoria. I think that would do more to cower regular Australians like myself, particularly in public protesting, than save anyone’s life. This suggestion, along with this internet filter makes me feel distinctly uncomfortable.

  4. 4 Rosie Williams

    I’ve read Arthur’s post now. It begins well but I don’t think that accusing the government of interfering with children is going to appeal to the masses.

  5. 5 tom

    Hi Rosie,I think the inference that government (and the moral right ) are/would be interfering with children sums it up about right. The reasons given to censor the internet are a direct attack upon the parental role – both upon their ability to make reasonable judgements about protecting their children and the more underhand way in which fears are being deliberately fanned which undermine parental confidence in making reasoned judgements.

    Undermining parents’ ability to adequately parent their children strikes me as interference. So too does the salacious objectification and idealization of children that is being promoted, as it is these which are used to justify the censorship.

    The recent ‘scandalized’ reaction to a visit by photographer Bill Henson to a Melbourne primary school is instructive in this regard. Henson was accused of sexually objectifying the children he photographs, (partially to fully naked and primarily pre or early adolescence, capturing them in the early stages of physical and emotional transformation from childhood to adulthood), and profiting from this process. Sexual objectification for profit puts this in the same stable, so the arguement goes, as child porn, pedophilia and the sexual exploitation of (primarily) women. In sustaining such an arguement – overtly or by implication – it is important not to get too close to the facts. Those who were close to the facts – in particular the current and former pupils at the school , their parents, and a range of others with knowledge of the relationship between schools and outside organisations – counterattacked. Letter writers and talk-back callers began to point out that sporting bodies and cultural organisations, for example, scouted schools for talent and that their motives may involve personal gain and profit.

    We can argue the merit or otherwise of whether sexual objectification should be worse than other forms of objectification, (remember Dickens’ Hard Times where the hapless character Stephen, was a ‘hand’ at the factory? Even today we still have ‘leading hands’ – and on a lighter note The Adam’s Family had ‘Thing’), but while we do this it is best to remember that at no stage during the above mentioned ‘scandal’ did any of the pollies or their moral right backers seek the opinion of the children concerned or of their parents. Children and parents alike were cynically used as playthings to satisfy deeply reactionary and tacky agendas.

    These people want to interfere with our children; they want to interfere with familial relationships in order that these relationships are conducted “appropriately”. What they won’t tell us is that their idea or “appropriate” and ours/yours/most other peoples are not on the same page.

  6. 6 Rosie Williams

    Is anyone else having issues with people photographing them? I’m trying to figure out how to interpret being apparently photographed/videod by a guy with a mobile phone in a lift. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with this campaign?

  7. 7 Arthur

    Rosie, that feeling you are wondering about is called paranoia.

  8. 8 Rosie Williams

    I guess you men don’t tend to get people taking shots of you with mobile phones eh? But thankyou for labelling me paranoid, that is very helpful, Arthur. Perhaps the whole campaign against internet filtering is paranoid? We live in a wonderful democracy and our goverment is only trying to help us protect our children.

    The post I originally prepared in response to Tom (based as it was on the argument of parents rights) really got me thinking about giving parents the right to exercise discretion over the content their children are able to access over the internet. It occured to me that with the pace of development of technology, many parents rely on their children to set up their access to the internet and not the other way around.

    One of the arguments for the filter is that as internet savy children can get around most filtering systems, for the more average child (ie not the whiz kids) a clean feed would help knock out some of the more extreme content, putting the control back in the hands of parents to make decisions which currently belong to their children.

    If knowledge is power then kids these days seem to have at least as much as their authorities and it is difficult for their parents and schools to take responsibility for what they access.

    For IT guys to say ‘its all up to the parents’ is pretty unrealistic.I’m glad this discussion has allowed me to think more deeply about these issues and see what arguments the campaigners against the filter have to back up their views, otherwise I might not have realised there could be a point to a clean feed as well as points to be made against it. At least if I write on this in the future I’ll have a more balanced and informed article.

    As for the personal insult, I don’t think it helps your cause. People campaigning against the filter accuse the government of using emotion/personal accusation to undermine their credibility. If you do the same yourself when I ask a legitimate question, you are hardly winning any wars with logic.

    You’ve certainly lost my respect. I entered into this issue due to my son’s interest in it, rather than my own. I entered into this issue with an open mind, which is why I am able to change it as I become more informed and think more about it.

    I am not sure this blog is a place for open minds or not but there’s no motivation for me to converse where public insults to my psychological health are allowed and accepted simply because I ask a question. If you want people’s support you need to earn it, both intellectually and in how you relate to people.

    You’ve got a long way to go.

  9. 9 keza


    I’m sorry that you felt insulted.

    My response to a female friend who was puzzled about apparently having been photographed by a man in a lift  and wondered whether it had anything to do with this campaign, would have been one of humourous reassurance. 

    Probably along the lines of “lots of weirdos out there, most of them harmless”.  It’s true that we women have experiences throughout our lives, which men don’t really ‘get”. 

    As I don’t know you personally, I can’t engage in any really wicked humour with you about the whole incident, unfortunately.

    I think that to connect it with the current campaign, is a bit paranoid (however perhaps there was more to it, than you’ve explained).  We all have moments of momentary paranoia, however.  It’s part of being human and we take turns to reassure each other.

    Out-of-control, psychotic paranoia is a different thing altogether.

    I think that the people who write for this blog are pretty open-minded. No need to take Arthur’s throw-away one-liner to heart.  One problem with this type of communication is that it is devoid of contextual cues which can provide an indication of how such remarks are intended to be taken.

  10. 10 Arthur

    Wondering whether a guy taking a photo of you in a lift could be connected with a campaign concerning government censorship is definately an obvious example of paranoia.

    Feeling insulted, rather than relieved when that self evidently reassuring fact is pointed, out does not indicate an open mind.

    So far I see no indications of psychosis. Just common or garden fearfulness and defensiveness.

    BTW there was also no connection between my remark and the unrelated, perfectly normal disagreement about campaign tactics, just as there was no such connection between the post about photo in life and that disagreement.

    There probably is a connection between empathy for arguments in support of censorship, and easily taking offence at things said, just as there probably is a connection between lack of empathy for such arguments, and lack of empathy for people’s negative reactions to disagreements or criticism.

  11. 11 Arthur

    On another entirely separate issue, I agree with Rosie that the line pushed by ISPs and others that parents can control kids access effectively is completely unrealistic.

    It is also radically inconsistent with simultaneous arguments that censorship won’t work because people who want to get access to forbidden porn can easily use technical workarounds.

    Basically its dishonest campaigning. The real options are government censorship or kids being able to access porn and parents needing to be able to help them to deal with that.

    A better argument is that governments taking responsibility undermines kids and parents learning how to deal with it, when this in fact is the only way to deal with it, since government censorship merely encourages furtive interest in the forbidden.

    BTW, another tit for tat response to the censorship lobby’s use of emotion and personal attacks to brand opponents of censorship as protectors of child molestation, is to emphasize that response.

    I always assumed the rumours that NSW Premier Wran was corrupt were just the usual bullshit, until he came out swinging for bans on prostitution and porn in Sydney. Especially in Sydney it is difficult to imagine how anybody not involved in police corruption would advocate something so obviously calculated to benefit corrupt police.

    Most of the campaigning so far seems to be from ISPs rather than the porn industry. ISPs will pay the costs of not being able to serve porn from caches, while the porn industry will get increased revenue.

  1. 1 skepticlawyer » Blogrolling

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