Is censorship bad for the economy of a country?

Is censorship bad for the economy of a country?

Summary: Technorati, the web services company that tracks the blogosphere, has been tracking which languages are being used. And the findings are very interesting, and there are lots of them.

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TOPICS: Censorship
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Technorati, the web services company that tracks the blogosphere, has been tracking which languages are being used. And the findings are very interesting, and there are lots of them.

Can you guess which is the most popular language? Here is a post from David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, on the the analysis of the langauages of the global blogosphere:

Something that may come as a surprise (at least to the English-speaking world) is that English isn't the biggest language of the blogosphere. In fact, English isn't even the primary language of one third of all posts that Technorati tracks anymore. Another interesting finding is that the Chinese blogosphere, which grew significantly in 2004 and 2005 (launches of MSN Spaces in Chinese, Bokee.com saw a peak of 25% of all posts in Chinese in November 2005) seems to be slowing down somewhat this year.

From: State of the Blogosphere, April 2006 Part 2: On Language and Tagging

I wonder if the Chinese blogosphere slowdown is because of the increasingly overt censorship of Chinese internet users?

Blogging celebrates a rawness, a passion, a shoot-from-hip directness. This isn't going to happen if you have to second-guess yourself when writing, and then think thrice about pushing the "publish" button when you know someone is looking over your shoulder.

Limiting self-expression is never good for a society and those energies generally find a way of alternate expression--sometimes covert, sometimes you have to hide opinion and read "between the lines" as in former Soviet-dominated countries, and other times self-expression bursts out into the streets with an uncertain velocity.

The recent Frontline documentary on the "The Tank Man" was fascinating. It really puts into perspective the cowardly attitudes of some of Silicon Valley's most respected tech giants, towards standing up for what's right. You only have to stand up and do the right thing--you are not standing up to a tank column.

Bush Calls For World to Stand With Young Man Who Braved Tanks The Associated Press, June 5, 1989 (read excerpt »)
What interests me: Does Internet censorship harm an economy? If we say that blogging and all this free expression is so wonderful, and game changing, and vital to communities--then those places that don't have it will be clearly disadvantaged. At some point... Maybe?

Topic: Censorship

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  • Why would this come as surprise?

    "Something that may come as a surprise (at least to the English-speaking world) is that English isn't the biggest language of the blogosphere."

    Just look at the population of China alone and this doesn't count Chinese in place like Canada. Then look at India and the other nations. English sure isn't at the top of the list. So why should we expect it to be the top language on the net if it isn't in the world?
    voska
    • It is a surprise...

      ...because the English speaking world dominated the adoption of computer technologies. Now that computer technology is available to millions of people and you can blog without a computer, it is less surprising. Also, English might still be the top language on the net if Technorati counted words instead of blog posts. And English is certainly the language of global business and will likely remain that way because a lingua franca is very useful to all, except maybe, the French :-)
      foremski
  • Bad for civil liberties

    Considering Yahoo China's incident where the Chinese govt. requesting info. on chat room info of someone they eventually tossed into jail for "unpatriotic" activities, I'd say yes... the right to free speech is a hard thing to come by these days. At least there are email security products that can protect the privacy of your email (for free).
    http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm
    schwana