Casey Tyack

This conversation is closed.

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 28 2011: Yes it is .
  • Aug 16 2011: i don't think the government has the right to shut off the internet or block the cell phones, because the government itself is not the right judge. sometimes things happenened is related with the government's wrongdoings.
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    Aug 16 2011: The government or state in any country is not neutral or decent enough to judge what sort of content should be censored. So I don't think they should have right to ban any kind of communication.
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    Aug 16 2011: I am personally against Media Bans of all sort.
    I would see a form of classification of Media being published as appropriate. Whether it be enforced of self-imposed is a different topic.

    Admitting that content published by oneself could be graphical, erotic or simply NSFW, would certainly enhance the credibility of social media without entering in the debate of whether content should be blocked or not.

    If some, amongst citizens, decide to restrict their access to certain type of information, so be it! This view however should be let to the decision of the individual (or their parent if too young).
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    Aug 15 2011: personally i don't believe that social media should be turned off for any reason, whether that is telephones or internet. If the information is available to a public mass it is also available to police, and they should be able to respond no slower than any who would wish to abuse it by grouping at certain areas. Any monitoring they do for these should have to be in an open format within several months of the incident, excluding the measures they used to acquire said information.

    For cable media, i believe it should be monitored, with an active bar about the accuracy of reports coming back into the country. They should have greater ability to pressure cable to report accurately, (in an open format, so to be answerable to their people) in times of disaster. This is not to say they should be able to actively take something off air, but i would also have to argue that there needs to be greater accountability during and after riots, natural disasters, etc, for the people to vote on measures that should be taken against cable news, whom are at this point not actually accountable to anyone. Whether this is greater financial pressure than they normally enjoy (to the point that purposely airing inaccurate information to gain views costs them more than it gains them) or other means that they find appropriate. I feel there are currently no real measures to hold these organizations accountable, they are protected by something similar to our 'to big to fail' corporations that put us in so much financial trouble recently.
  • 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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    Aug 15 2011: hey, when they block the cell phones, shut off the internet, and block media coverage, assume some terrbile things are going to happen

    and it wont be the rioters doing it.
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    Aug 15 2011: I fully agree that media bans should only be a last resort and should only be decided upon after a careful assessment of the situation.

    Having said that, I believe that the state has a certain responsability as far as extremist or dangerous messages are concerned and that due to this responsability it has to act appropriately and if necessary ban these messages.

    In a perfect world where everyone can discern between good and evil and we have a common set of ethical and moral laws to tell us what is right, we would all know to stay away from such media and would have no need for further protection. But looking at for example the pure indoctrination of the masses by charismatic messages in the US, which still is after all one of the most developed countries, you must realise that we are far away from such a perfect world.