David Shanks, New Zealand’s “chief censor”, has an op-ed in the Daily Telegraph. Sounds like he has a tough job.
I’ve never seen so many film festival movies as I did in my first year, watching them at a cinema that had been opened specially for myself and one of my team.
To be fair – I’m sure there are not-so-good parts to his job too.
On the other hand, my staff and I have to classify material sent to us by law enforcement. This is the dark side. This can be dreadful child sexual abuse images, or harrowing rape clips. And other things, things that some people would find even more damaging to watch.
Yep. I get that. But why show it to the censors? Just show it to the jury. What he is describing is criminal behaviour.
To be clear, however, this person is not a volunteer. He is paid a salary.
Here he is talking about the Christchurch massacre that was live-streamed to the world.
As I watched, I knew that Facebook, Google and others were fighting a desperate battle to take this off their platforms, as more and more versions of it mutated and spread. Over a million attempted uploads had been blocked by Facebook by the time I saw it. Nobody can tell me how many versions got through and were viewed, but I suspect it was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, in New Zealand alone.
Let’s do that again:
… I knew that Facebook, Google and others were fighting a desperate battle to take this off their platforms, as more and more versions of it mutated and spread. Over a million attempted uploads had been blocked by Facebook by the time I saw it.
Hmm. So who are the wrong-doers here?
Even so, I do not underestimate the size of the challenge ahead in driving the digital industrial complex towards a new, transparent and accountable way of managing and monitoring their platforms.
The very people he knows “were fighting a desperate battle to take this off their platforms”. All of a sudden they are the “digital industrial complex” needing to be driven to greater levels of transparency and accountability.
So what else does he say?
I signed up for this. But I didn’t know what to say to the Muslim man who asked me with tears in his eyes about what he should say to his 9 year old boy, his child, who had accidentally watched this on a social media news feed.
How about, “What are you thinking having your 9 year old with unsupervised access to social media?”
Completely unrestricted freedom of speech tends to be weaponised by terrorists and despots, who have no compunction about depriving you of your rights. History tells us this.
Perhaps some examples would clarify that statement.
Okay. I’m very sadly aware that censorship is a popular policy and no doubt many voters believe we should have more censorship and not less. Nonetheless it is very annoying that censors have licence to insult our intelligence.