In following the media coverage that seems to be surrounding us these days about the crises in Tunisia, and now Egypt, I couldn’t help but think that I was seeing some hypocrisy at play – as relates to Internet “censorship”.
On the one hand, the U.S. and other countries were condemning Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for blocking most of the Internet and text messaging services in Egypt, including popular social networking sites such as Twitter. How dare he try to “control” in this way? It flies in the face of the intent of the Internet, and the rights of individuals to express themselves? That’s what the global community is saying.
(As an aside, what Mubarak didn’t realize is that he could take control by becoming part of the conversation, vs. just trying to shut it down. That’s the power of social media and the Internet!)
I also chuckled when I read that China had blocked the search term “Egypt” on major web portals, instead returning an error message saying the topic was not allowed under “relevant laws”. Again, a controlling move made out of fear – that the Chinese people may get ideas about doing the same in their country?
Now turn back the clock to the latest WikiLeaks scandal, and remember that the U.S. called for it to be shut down. Isn’t this a bit hypocritical given what they are now saying about Mubarak’s move? One thing for sure is that both controlling moves were ones made out of fear (and desperation?).
Is it just me, or is this hypocrisy at play? You can’t have it both ways.