Wikipedia, one of the largest websites in the world, decided to shut down for a day in protest against US attacks on freedom of the press and internet censorship. The two laws aimed at internet censorship and limiting free press and freedom of speech are named orwellian style as Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect IP (PIPA). The bills are coming up for a vote soon, and more pressure needs to be applied to stop these unprecedented attacks on freedom of speech. The legistlation would allow US internet providers to block access to certain websites, Chinese Firewall style and would force search engines to censor such blocked sites from their results. It would also force private companies such as advertising agencies and firms like Pay-Pal from doing business with sites the US government dislikes. It’s easy to see that Wikileaks would have been the first target of this censorship law, it seems it was written that situation in mind. Wikileaks’s operation was damaged most severely when it’s ability to recieve donations were suspended.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of wikipedia writes:
“Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition to this destructive legislation. This is an extraordinary action for our community to take – and while we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that Sopa and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world.”
The Guardian, in a brave move against freedom of speech, quickly put up an article criticizing not the US legistlation trying to implement internet censorship, but the protest trying to stop it. They inserted all types of quotes from tech bosses, slamming Wikipedia’s action, when the same people are heavily against the same laws, just not to the extent of shutting their businisses down.
So how is this all relevant to Hungary? There was an unprecedented hate campaign against Hungary because of the media law passed in late 2010. The press campaign organized by MSZP-SZDSZ who suffered a historic defeat in the 2010 elections, and other opposition forces, was greatly boosted by the help of foreign media allies. Such leftist papers as the Guardian were leading the charge. It will be very interesting to see how these same papers react to genuine threats against freedom of speech as represented by the proposed US legistlation. Since the acceptance of the Hungarian media law, the media in Hungary have only became more aggressive and vicious. Yet when a real threat to basic human rights appears, against everyone, most of the same sources remain silent. The Economist for example all but cheered the prospect of the new censorship law making it clear that if media corporations are given a few extra pennies in revenue they will be happy to support trampling on your basic human rights.
A very interesting tactic seems to be emerging here, while propaganda units are working overtime to enlarge non-existing threats beyond all reason, the real threats can slip through with little attention on them.