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Casey Tyack

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Is it acceptable for a government to block media that it deems inaccurate or damaging under any circumstances? (social or cable)

With the massive earthquake and tsunami in japan, we saw outside media have a continuous impact on some of the nearby areas showing stores out of food far after the information was accurate, and generally inciting fear and panic. In reality, (in areas such as Tokyo), residents quickly realized that all of the food they bought up in the initial panic (and there was an initial panic) was going to go bad far before they ate it, and tried to get people to come over and eat some of their food. Outside news sources that were still being played inside of the country incited panic and fear, constantly showing stores out of food when it was only really like that for a short period after the disaster struck(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xNtgHaqAyg). With the recent riots in England, there has been talk of "[looking] at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via social media when "we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality"" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14485592). How one gauges this, and the steps taken to accomplish it is another issue entirely, but what i want to discuss is this:
Does the government actually have any incentive or right to filter its media if it deems it damaging and inaccurate, whether the claim behind it is its use to organize rioting, or merely because it is unnecessarily inciting fear and panic?

(if there are any talks relating to this, they didn't come to mind, feel free to link it in any responses)


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  • Aug 15 2011: i personally feel that 99% of the time the answer is no, and in a widespread pandemic or rioting or anything of that sort it is completely unacceptable and will only make things worse and more escalated.

    I do believe that they should have the ability to block individuals and/or specific stations under very rare circumstances that would be considered for the protection of the masses, such as if someone were broadcasting something illegally or inciting a riot or inciting people to commit crimes, or threatening peoples lives, anything that would currently be illegal to say in public in the US.. which is a very short list of things.

    I also believe that they should have to make very public and well visible notices that they have taken this action and why they have taken this action. They should never be allowed to take anything down without making the fact that they did so well known public knowledge.

    Reporting on an empty storefront falls nowhere near the requirement i would say would be needed in order to shut down any form of media.

    They probably should not have the ability at all as trusting in such a system of power to only be used in those rare circumstances is likely to be abused. So my post is idealistic, but reality dictates it's probably for the best if they don't even have the ability to shut the internet or websites down under any circumstances

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