Censorship just boosts message spread

Despite the title, I know that not all censorship boosts communication. Repression and violence coupled with censorship can prevent a message from getting out. Nevertheless, it strikes me that censorship attempts in a free (or at least semi-free) society usually backfire.

Thanks to Learning with ‘e’s for pointing this one out.

A Scottish local authority thought a 9-year-old’s blog was making them look bad, and tried to shut her down. The result: her blog has now registered nearly 4 million hits, which means that a ton more people know how bad the food in her school is than otherwise would have. Continue reading “Censorship just boosts message spread”

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Open government leads to greater happiness

This report by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press might lead to a “well, duh!” response. Nevertheless, it is good to see solid evidence bearing this out. “Citizens who believe their community’s information systems, government, media and such are performing well are more likely to be engaged in their community and are more satisfied with the quality of their community as a whole.”

The report further says that people in such communities are more likely to believe they can make a difference. Again, not rocket science. It occurs to me that there is a segment of the power structure that might benefit from these insights, though. Some in power (in my cynical view, perhaps most?) are interested mainly in power. There is a sizable segment that seeks truly to serve, however, and at least some of them believe they must serve the public by protecting it from knowing too much.

Thus, the power-hungry and the well-meaning elite may join forces to further the nanny state.

The power-hungry will not care, of course. In fact, this may encourage them to close government as much as possible, since the last they want is citizen involvement. The Romans were not the last empire to understand the usefulness of bread and circuses. But for those who really want to serve, the lesson is supported: openness and communication is always better.

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