Sunday, December 12, 2010

2011 Prediction - Freedom of the press and the internet

Freedom of the press was never about allowing anyone to publish, it was about allowing the middle class (who were the ones rich enough to own presses) the right to publish. The USA revolution was a middle class revolution and it was to allow competing voices within the ruling class to be heard.

There's a long history of using pretexts and excuses for suppressing freedom of expression in Democracies (Dictatorships don't need excuses). Advertising has also been a control mechanism ... offend a powerful group and your advertising dries up making it hard to run those expensive presses.

As they slowly wake up to the fact that the Internet allows ordinary people to say what they want to as large an audience as they can attract power slips slowly away from the communications media owned by the ruling classes. With publication so cheap, the advertising lever is no longer as effective.  The Internet has reached the point where it is starting to scare the ruling classes and they are finding pretexts to "regulate" it. Wikileaks, Whale Blubber's vigilante blog, etc give high profile whipping boys and I expect them to find more pretexts like these in 2011 to push for a more highly regulated Internet.


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