The Media Is Losing Its Shit Over The Reporters Sans Frontieres Report

Reporters sans frontieres, the French agency who monitors freedom of the press around the globe, released a report on Wednesday called "Internet Enemies". The report names Australia as a country to watch, thanks to the current Government's plans to introduce a mandatory internet filter. And because the same report also mentions China and North Korea, the media is completely losing its shit.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a vocal opponent to the Government's policy, and the country's name in the RSF report is valid and alarming at the same time. But reading through the report, at no point in time is Australia mentioned in the same breath as the two communist nations.

Australia is only mentioned twice in the entire report. Here are the relevant excerpts:

More and more states are enacting or considering repressive laws pertaining to the Web, or are applying those that already exist, which is the case with Jordan, Kazakhstan, and Iraq. Western democracies are not immune from the Net regulation trend. In the name of the fight against child pornography or the theft of intellectual property, laws and decrees have been adopted, or are being deliberated, notably in Australia, France, Italy and Great Britain. On a global scale, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), whose aim is to fight counterfeiting, is being negotiated behind closed doors, without consulting NGOs and civil society. It could possibly introduce potentially liberticidal measures such as the option to implement a filtering system without a court decision.

Among the countries “under surveillance” are several democracies: Australia, because of the upcoming implementation of a highly developed Internet filtering system, and South Korea, where draconian laws are creating too many specific restrictions on Web users by challenging their anonymity and promoting selfcensorship.

This second mention is the one that matters. The agency lists Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Vietnam all as "enemies of the Internet". Australia is not on that list. They have, however been placed "under surveillance", alongside South Korea, Russia, Turkey United Arab Emirates, Belarus and Thailand.

So what does this all actually mean? It means that there's a little bit more international attention on the Australian government's policy for mandatory internet filtering. Maybe that attention will put pressure on them to shelve the idea, but probably not.

It's important to understand that even though this filter is a huge mistake, we're still a very long way from being on the same level as North Korea and Iran, despite what the media may infer. At least we have a choice to vote for our Government - something you should all remember come the next Federal election...




    Is there a reason Tasmania is MIA?

      I'm sorry, I do not know to which state you are referring. There are only five states and two territories. There has only ever been five states and two territories. You must be mistaken.

      Here, I'll write you a referral to a counselling session at the Ministry of Truth (encompassing Broadband and The Digital Economy).

      Seriously though, I wish there was more coverage of this in the mainstream media.

        Yep, the states of:
        South Australia
        and TASMANIA

        as well as
        ACT and the Northern Territories

        Don't think Risu's mistaken, Cortexian.. ;-)

        um idi, you have forgotten the best state.. Western Australia.

        ...Australia has six states and two major mainland territories.

      @Risu. Tasmania is missing, because it has floated off and rejoined new zealand as "The west island".

    so who do we vote for to not get an internet filter?

      The Greens.

        A vote for the greens would be a vote for no internet at all, given their hatred of all things technological. Also a vote for the reddest party in australian politics, so they would probably love this sort of thing (even if they claim otherwise at the moment).

        Anyway, the point is moot as a vote for the greens = a vote for labor. Ever heard of a little something called preferences?

        Hi SafeForever

        Ever heard of voting BELOW THE LINE and running your own preferences? Besides, in the lower house, Greens run split tickets in lots of seats.

        Bah - can't believe I am replying to you since you obviously are stuck in a dishonest scare campaign from five years ago!

    "It’s important to understand that even though this filter is a huge mistake, we’re still a very long way from being on the same level as North Korea and Iran.."

    I have to disagree with you and side with the media on this one. As far as I'm concerned one step in the wrong direction, even a small one, is still a step in the wrong direction.

    I do hope the media "loses its shit". Then I hope the people of Australia "lose their shit". Then I hope Senator Control gets his ass kicked out of politics.

    the media is doing what they always do. blowing things out of proportion. This time im not upset, maybe this will get in front of the mums and dads that know nothing about and just hear that it will stop your kids from seeing porn

    Unless the Australian government plans on employing 10's of thousands of people to monitor the internet (ala China), an internet filter can not work... there are simply too many ways around it.

    If it was possible to filter/block all objectionable content we wouldn't have spam... right...?

    Yet on a day to day basis... even with the best spam filters available both on the server and within my mail client... spam gets through.

    Like spammers, the people whom wish to still produce the sorts of content the internet filter here in Australia will be designed to block... will find creative ways around it be it text as images, encrypted attachments, flash based content (not even Google can read whats in it) etc...

    On the other side, should users wish to get to this content... a) see above (that is much of the objectionable content will go around the filters) and b) people will use anon/proxy servers.


      Speaking as a parent, I heard that and was saddened. Besides the obvious arguments about parentings actually keeping an eye on their kids, isn't looking at porn a normal part of being a teenager?

      I'm a lot more worried about losing my access to online poker games personally.

    minor point, but Iran isn't communist... nasty, but not communist.

      Correct - fixed!

    @Justin - sorry mate - you're confusing "the media" as in the pathetic tabloid media existing to publicise America and consumerism as it exists here in Oz - with REAL journalism media who guard the truth and report on things that actually matter.

    You are right "the media" over sensationalise - but then they are just advertising in disguise.

    The real media that you see in responsible society actually give a toss about the truth.

    Here is a chance to give this legs and chop off Conroy's

      he is reffering to the majority.

    I have heard no losing of shit from the mainstream media.

    Hypothetically, is it posible the mainstream media corporations are in league with the government over this?
    Television networks suffer revenue loss because of downloading...

    Try this page:

    My 16yo daughter complained to me last night that the filter is going to prevent her from accessing 4chan, because 4chan, being an unmoderated forum that allows posters to put anything on the site, contains lots of child pornography. Of course, she's not interested in the kiddieporn, but she is lamenting the impending loss of 4chan.
    I actually think that 4chan and many, many other websites like it, are bad for society and would like to see them shut down. But we live in a society that seems to value free speech over the negative effect that free speech can have on the listener.
    The internet filter is bad, but so are thousands of websites. What do we do? Impose a blanket ban that will probably prevent access to sites about breastfeeding, or constantly worry about our kids seeing all sorts of stuff that previous generations never even knew existed?
    So what's the answer? And don't talk about self-regulation, we know that doesn't work.

    "Among the countries “under surveillance” are several democracies: Australia, because of the upcoming implementation of a highly developed Internet filtering system..."

    "Highly developed Internet filtering system"

    Isn't that exaggeration a bit of high praise? LOL

    Quote "It’s important to understand that even though this filter is a huge mistake, we’re still a very long way from being on the same level as North Korea and Iran"

    I don't believe for one minute, that we are that far away from being on the same level, what say has the Australia people had in it's implementation? None!
    This country is fast becoming a "dictatorship" (It already is in my opinion). Democratic country?
    What a load of shit!

      This shows a level of understanding that the average American would be proud of.

    the so called idear of conroy is to protect children from viewing kiddy porn ect. i am an adult who on occasions views xxx no time have i ever seen kiddy porn on the internet,not that i would want to.let the parents of children keep a watch on what they are doing on the net.conroys idear is to prevent us ozzies from finding out gov. stuff ups.

    Australia is has been rapidly moving to the right with the election of Howard, and has continued unabated under Rudd. A whole host of valid reasons have been put forward as to why we are censored on the internet. However they also serve big business and big government so that individual rights can be controlled and curtailed at the same time and this is the danger.

    Conroy did a good interview with Daniel Ilic from Hungry Beast (which is on ABC) about a month ago.

    There's a great list of how he lied in it here:

    This is an exceedingly comprehensive and pretty damning account of why this guy (who did, i'll admit, appear quite pleasant on camera in that particular interview) is just totally inappropriate to be in this position.

    He's either seriously negligent of the facts of the situation or he's deliberately lied to people yet again.

    Surely Rudd the master of media spin realises what negative press this guy generates. Can we swap him for Combet the fix-it man or something?

    All I can say is it's great to see the print media finally speaking up on the issue.

    I only wish the TV stations would as well, but I guess Conroy giving them a $250 million tax break has ensured they stay silent on the issue.

    Just had a thought.. If $250 million is the price tag for the owners of Channels 7, 9 and 10. If we pool our money, we might be able to buy us a couple of Kerry Stokes?

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