U.K. seeks to rein in Internet


U.K. seeks to rein in Internet

Culture secretary mulls film-style ratings

The U.K. government is looking to impose tough restrictions on websites in the coming year.

Blighty’s culture secretary Andy Burnham said he intended to tighten controls on English-language websites and that he would negotiate with incoming U.S. president Barack Obama’s team to present a united front against indecency, violence, libel and copyright theft on the Web.

“The change of administration (in the U.S.) is a big moment. We have got a real opportunity to make common cause,” Burnham told U.K. newspaper the Daily Telegraph on Saturday. “The more we seek international solutions to this stuff – the U.K. and the U.S. working together – the more that an international norm will set an industry norm.”

. . . . .

“If you look back at the people who created the Internet, they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn’t reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now,” he said.

I say, can’t have any of that freedom sort of thing, now can we?

Freedom includes responsible behavior and a set of common norms.


I agree but the UK does ban a lot of stuff like books, music and certain programming.

**Freedom ? Now what might that be ? **

Imposed by whom?
We’re the only country in the world with a First Amendment, which has prevented a lot of the trampling of free speech that has gone on in other countries.
Mr. Burnham sees an opening because we have a bunch coming into power here who want to bring back the “fairness doctrine” to radio and regulate speech they don’t like on the internet.

Look at what has happened in Canada with their “hate speech” laws. Catholic Answers wouldn’t last a years in such a legal environment.

The last sentence was alarmist and purely speculative. Social norms in common are the basis of any civilized society. If those norms are eroded, it harms not only the public at large but the speakers themselves. For example, parents teach their children that certain words and actions are wrong. In order to have a fully functional society, those rules are enforced. The opposite would be anarchy.

“speech they don’t like”? Chris Rock talking profanity and perverted sex constantly? The late George Carlin talking about how miserable people make him feel? The self-appointed arbiter
of social standards, Lewis Black, telling listeners “There’s no such thing as bad language.”? The Ministry of Propaganda in the United States has been relabeled “Comedy.” Yeah, about as entertaining as a drunken pimp on a street corner.

It may come as a surprise to some reading this, but some people choose to have standards. The regressive Hippie “let it all hang out” and “do your own thing” are useless in day to day living. A responsible freedom flows out from each individual and from everything we say and do. To paraphrase, a Christian once said, You may be the only Bible someone ever reads. Our words and actions speak about us and to others. It conveys our goodness or our badness as the case may be.

“Hate speech”? Depending on the individual incident and context, maybe. But I’ve seen too many examples where no hate was intended.


You’re right! The U.K is planning to censor everyth-

*This message has been reviewed and deemed to be reactionary, therefore, acting in accordance with the wishes of the glorious Chairman Brown, and the will of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, it has been censored, the perpetrator has been dealt with.’’

[quote]Look at what has happened in Canada with their “hate speech” laws. Catholic Answers wouldn’t last a years in such a legal environment.

The last sentence was alarmist and purely speculative…

Still speculative perhaps, but knowing what has happened to Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and Macleans, it is sad that so few Canadians actually are alarmed over the assault on their freedoms.

Freedom is a messy thing.If safe streets are the goal, most autocracies and dictatorships know how to accomplish this very efficiently.

Yes but it depends who would be imposing the standards? After all this is a Protestant country what if they voted in a law that states Catholic teaching is offensive to let’s say Southern Baptists therefore Catholic teaching will be considered hate speech.

As you probably know the Homosexual lobby is trying to ban some teachings of the Bible what they call hate speech.

To me if something is offensive I turn it off. I would rather have the freedom to turn something off than having someone imposing their standards of the rest of us.

I don’t think anything will come of Andy Burnham’s proposal. If a demand for ISP policed standards existed, then ISPs which voluntarily adopted such standards would thrive. However, as far as I know, no ISPs do such a thing.

And devising ratings for the everchanging nature of websites is simply impractical. Content is constantly being added and removed, especially in Web 2.0 where user added content dominates.

I think Mr. Burnham profoundly misunderstands the US position on freedom of speech. We may be a little nutty about defending and allowing free speech, but we consider it to be a hallmark of our democracy. I don’t think Obama or any other American president will give Burnham’s proposal any consideration.

Would you care to offer a few details about what happened to these individuals and the rationale behind it? We’re not all Canadians here :slight_smile:


Demanding speech adhere to a set of norms approved by society isn’t freedom. It’s tyranny by the majority.

“imposing their standards on the rest of us”? And where do you get this us vs. them idea? In a country of the people, for the people and by the people, we sit down and craft Laws that are designed to rein in the worst things people can do. And how do many Court Cases start? “The People versus so and so…” Get it?

There should be no freedom for pornography, prostitution and strip clubs. They degrade the individuals involved and society in general. The same should apply to the internet.


The US courts have ruled otherwise - First Amendment guarantees freedom on speech.

Its legal in certain parts of the US, but generally speaking there is little freedom for prostitution.

Again, I think the US courts have ruled that this is protected by the Constitution.

Which is a good reason for individuals with your values not to participate.

The same should apply to the internet.

Again, if your values are against pornography, prostitution and strip clubs, then you would do well not to visit websites which cater to such activities.

I think freedom of speech is important to protect. We don’t want to become like Canada, which suppresses the speech of people such as Mark Steyn or Fr. de Valk.

What is the fear? That they will stop the porn, violence and filth on the internet? I think it is an exercise in futility myself, but I agree with the principle.

To read some of these posts on a Catholic Forum is shameful. Are we, calling ourselves civilized, to just abandon having any standards whatsoever? I think not.

The UK is doing the right thing. And doing the right thing, it seems, is simply not popular here. “Tyranny of the majority” is a meaningless slogan. If 100 people were on an island and all needed to survive, I don’t think 3 dissenters would sway the group. But, somehow, it is acceptable when millions of people are involved. That is nonsense.


You’re missing my point entirely. As a Catholic I live by what comes from the Holy See.

When I use to have Dish Network satellite TV you could order hardcore porn and you didn’t need a credit card did I order the stuff no!

I have satellite radio there are some channels I don’t listen too why I go by Church teaching and I have self-control and these are the morals I live by.

You sir what to put your standards on people that don’t live by your morals? If you ever been to Saudi Arabia and I have and the lack of freedom there maybe you will understand.

It’s simple if you don’t like something turn it off. If people go to these sites that is between them and God because I don’t know what is in someone’s heart.

I believe that’s the reason we have oral confession.

If I don’t like something, turn it off? And then you play the Saudi Arabia card? If you are Catholic, do you want to say nothing about porn? Do you want it to be another “choice”? They say “you can’t legislate morality” but a lot of time, money and lawyers were used to get so-called Adult Bookstores out there among the public, to get hardcore porn out among the public and to get strip clubs out among the public. And who was against these things in the past? Christians. So are you for it now? Will you stand by silently, telling others to just turn it off, but then say nothing else? Is it good or bad for society as a whole?


Well Ed, I understand and agree with you; the problem I have is who is going to and what is going to be legislated?

Is it going to be congress or the courts? [courts=abortion]

Look I can’t stand racists but in our country if you want to go live in the woods and listen too racist music and read that kind of garbage that’s somebody’s freedom to do that.

In the UK stuff like that is restricted like said I don’t agree with it but in America I will support someone’s freedom to do it.

Like I said what if they legislate to close all Catholic schools for hate speech because the Church teaches that doing a homosexual act is a sin?

You’re just talking about porn I’m looking at other stuff that can restrict our freedom of speech.

It mostly has to do with Human Rights Commissions being used by radical Islamists and their leftist cohorts to censor what is being said in some fairly prominent magazines. Ezra Levant’s case is the most prominent and it involved his western Canadian based now defunct magazine the Western Standard being taken through what is tantamount to kangaroo courts over his decision to publish the Mohammed cartoons a few years back. A Calgarian imam objected, was shooed away from the criminal justice system on the grounds of lack of criminality, and found a more sympathetic ear in the Alberta Human rights commission. Lesser people have been charged and silenced by these commissions for such things as quoting the Bible against homosexuality and such things, but for Ezra Levant, a lawyer and a fairly prominent and politically connected member of the community, it was the Human Rights Commission that was eventually embarrassed into dropping the charges. A Youtube video of their inner workings was a big part of this.
Mark Steyn, a political columnist of international renown, working for MacLeans, Canada’s major weekly news magazine was likewise paraded before these commissions and eventually the charges were dropped.

There is no expense on behalf of the people making the charges, major expenses on behalf of those having to defend themselves, and innocent or guilty, the net effect is a stifling of free speech. It is death by innuendo and a thousand cuts. These courts, set up originally to meet the needs of waitresses being sexually harassed and minorities being discriminated against in terms of housing, have become very effective at stifling free speech. Those unconnected and without deep pockets are invariably foudn guilty, and those publications with deeper pockets and better connections are finding it easier just to keep quiet rather than entering into a fight that cost them a lot, and the accusers nothing at all.

EzraLevant.com likely has a good archival record of the issue.

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