Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) has blocked another 1203 websites from being accessed by their citizens. The official reason from the Thai government blocking these websites is because of “lese majeste” (criticising the King). You can view the list of websites on the wikileaks site.
So whats’ this got to do Australia or atheism?
Well (as most of you probably know by now) Senator Conroy and his buddies in the Labor Party are attempting to introduce ISP level internet filtering in Australia (see No Clean Feed links in the side bar). Whilst a lot of the hype about this has centered on the porn aspect of the filtering, the more worrying aspect is the possible bans on web sites deemed “inappropriate”. With no explanation of what “inappropriate” sites might be, this leaves a huge hole for the government of the day to just ban sites that they don’t like for whatever reason. Because the blacklist is, supposedly, unavailable to the general public ( I say supposedly because all you need to do is look at the wikileaks site to see how despite bans these lists can be released to the general populace) you won’t even know what has been blacklisted.
So what has this to do with atheism I hear you ask? Well how many atheist blogs are critical of the government? I’d hazard a guess nearly all of them have been at one stage, I know I have on many occasions. Separation of church and state, government wasting money on religious activities (C-WYD anyone?), taxpayers money being wasted on religion and religious schools and the list goes on. We already have sedition laws in this country, brought in by the previous draconian Liberal government, which can get you locked up if you speak out against the government. Even though these are about to be overhauled by the current government it has demonstrates how easy it is for the government of the day to bring in restrictive laws if they don’t want people speaking out against them. So the government doesn’t like what you wrote on your blog? Blog goes on the blacklist, never to be viewed by an Australian again. Think that’s not too big a problem? Government notices incoming links to your site, so all those get banned, and so it goes on until no atheists are able to speak out against the injustices of the government.
A wild fantasy, over-hyped conspiracy theory? Perhaps, but what would stop the government bringing in “lese majeste PM interwebs” (criticising Rudd on a blog), if they have virtually unlimited capability to ban web sites deemed inappropriate?
Whilst checking some details for this post I noticed that the governments (pathetic excuse for a) blog has now been closed, see the Thanks and so long… link. Of note the American President – Elect has got a blog, which despite the fact you can’t comment on each blog entry they do at least have a seperate section where you can comment on specific topics – see the Open Government section in the side bar. Importantly the site looks like a blog. It will be interesting to see if Obama keeps this going after his inauguration in 14 days. Perhaps our hopeless government and their useless blog programmers could ask Obama and his team for some tips?