Unhappy about something? **** it!

Summary:Nope, I wasn't spouting vulgarities, but I'm hoping that the headline demonstrates what happens when one gets over-zealous with self-censorship, or censorship of any form.I view self-censorship in journalism as a necessary evil, practised in the name of social responsibility, national patriotism and in some cases, commercially driven obligations--who are we trying to kid, even CNN and the New York Times operate on profits and revenues.

Nope, I wasn't spouting vulgarities, but I'm hoping that the headline demonstrates what happens when one gets over-zealous with self-censorship, or censorship of any form.

I view self-censorship in journalism as a necessary evil, practised in the name of social responsibility, national patriotism and in some cases, commercially driven obligations--who are we trying to kid, even CNN and the New York Times operate on profits and revenues.

But while journalists may have corporate and social duties to fulfill, bloggers have a unique freedom to voice their opinions and thoughts, in unblemished honesty. Corporate blogs aside, as long as bloggers stay within the legal boundaries that govern laws on slander and defamation, they can--and should be allowed to--express their views on any issue they feel strongly about.

Of late, however, there seems to be a growing intolerance toward bloggers over what they publish. There's now even a verb ("dooce") for employees who get the boot over what they write in their blogs.

An IBMer once said: "The beauty of the Internet is that no one's in charge and everyone's in charge." I couldn't agree more.

In a new Web environment, densely populated with personal blogs, online guilds and other user communities, as well as the likes of Wikipedia and YouTube, everyone and anyone can be a content creator.

It's not possible for any government body or country to monitor, and purge, every piece of online content it deems offensive.

More importantly, censorship--when enforced gratuitously--can also distort the truth and distort the actual message.

Ever tried watching a TV program filled with so many 'bleeps' that you can hardly make out what the person is trying to say? Or a movie that's been so heavily censored that the scenes and dialogs are incomprehensible?

Would Schindler's List be as poignant if the scene showing stark-naked women and children being led into the gas chambers, had been edited out for nudity, or worse, had parts of their bodies mosaic-ed?

Imagine what Microsoft might say if I'd strategically added asterisks in my blog: "Bill Gates is one **ck of a guy." Would they have known at first glance, that I meant to say "Bill Gates is one heck of a guy"?

Bloggers should be given the liberty to voice their comments without fear of incarceration, where untruths and factual inaccuracies are eradicated--and malicious writers silenced--by fellow bloggers. Only then can the online community continue to "grow up in the wonderful organic way that it's been growing".

So, if you're unhappy about something, blog it!

Topics: Censorship

About

Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 15 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings. Eileen majored i... Full Bio

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