Conroy to debate filter opponents tonight

Summary:Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will hit the radio airwaves live tonight to debate the Government's proposed mandatory ISP-level filtering scheme with dissenters such as outspoken Internode engineer Mark Newton.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will hit the radio airwaves live tonight to debate the government's proposed mandatory internet service provider level filtering scheme with dissenters such as outspoken Internode engineer Mark Newton.

Stephen Conroy

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy
(Credit: NBN Tasmania)

The politician will appear on the ABC's Australia Talks program at 6PM (AEDT). The show will be chaired by ABC presenter Paul Barclay. Also appearing will be Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) vice president Colin Jacobs, UNSW journalism professor Catharine Lumby, Internode's Mark Newton and Michael Grace, regional chief for internet filtering company Netsweeper.

Jacobs and Newton are both seen as leaders in the movement opposing the filter, while Lumby has conducted research on the subject. The adversarial relationship between Conroy and the EFA has run white hot at times.

For example, just several weeks ago, the minister accused the leaders of the EFA of deliberately misleading the public in its campaign against the filtering project.

At the time, journalistic freedom organisation Reporters without Borders had released what it called its 'Enemies of the Internet' report, noting it was concerned that online censorship may enter the nation through the filtering project.

"While one could possibly excuse Reporters without Borders for their ignorance of the government's policy, the same cannot be said of the local ... Electronic Frontiers Australia, who through Colin Jacobs, chairman Nic Suzor and board member Geordie Guy, have run a campaign to deliberately mislead the Australian public," Conroy said in the Senate.

In return, the EFA described Conroy's attack as "extraordinary".

Just last week, Newton mocked what he called Conroy's "hissy fit", publishing a satirical imagined conversation between Jacobs and Conroy in which the minister repeats previously published policy statements.

The news comes as the level of public debate about the filter continues to build. This morning The Punch reported US Government officials had raised concerns about the filter plans directly with the Australian Government.

Topics: Censorship, Government : AU

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