Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has supported the American Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton’s criticism of China and other countries that censor the Internet.
Senator Clinton addressed the Newseum in Washington DC in what many industry pundits see as America’s answer to recent cyber-attacks against Chinese human rights activists via Google and other US companies.
“In the last year, we’ve seen a spike in threats to the free flow of information. China, Tunisia and Uzbekistan have stepped up their censorship of the Internet,” she said. “Countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of Internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century.
“Censorship should not be in any way accepted by any company anywhere.”
The Senator then went on to warn against a potential future of living on “a fragmented planet in which access to information and opportunity is dependent on where you live and the whims of censors”.
In a media release, Minister Conroy “welcomed” the speech and at the same time, emphasised the lack of political material in the proposed list of websites to be censored as part of the controversial ISP filter.
Although Senator Clinton’s statement “all societies recognise that free expression has its limits” was directed against race hatred and terrorism, the Minister used it as a bridge to defend the use of ISP filtering blacklists that ban refused classification (RC) materials.
“RC-rated material includes child sex abuse content, bestiality, sexual violence including rape and the detailed instruction of crime or drug use. It does not include political content or discussion,” he said.
“Critics of the policy continue to mislead the Australian public by suggesting that any content other than RC-rated content will be blocked.”