Readersforum's Blog

March 22, 2012

New censorship is about money, not ethics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 9:01 am

New censorship is about money, not ethics

By Ariel Bogle

As we have been discussing on MobyLives, publishing is awash with instances of arbitrary censorship.  For example, here by Apple and here by Paypal.  It is apparent that journalists and editors are no longer afraid of big government, but quake before big business and big money.  Private bodies whose influence is both far-reaching and hard to predict.

Nick Cohen argues in The Literary Review for a new way of thinking about censorship.  To begin with, Cohen asks why challenging writing about economic crises is so rare, given there are thousands of articles about the foibles of politicians.

“You no more hear writers and broadcasters admit that they are frightened of investigating investment banks than you hear them admit that they are frightened of challenging the founding myths of Islam. We cannot puncture our own myth that we are fearless seekers after truth, even though, if we honestly owned up to our limitations, we might force society to confront the fact that modern censorship does not conform to old models. It is a mistake to think of repression as repression by the state alone. In much of the world it still is, but in Britain, America and most of continental Europe the age of globalisation has done its work, and it is privatised rather than state forces that threaten freedom of speech.”

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