Australian Journalists Union Supports, Then Withdraws Support For, Internet Censorship
from the wonder-how-that-happened... dept
We’ve been covering the efforts by Hollywood studios to push extreme draconian new copyright laws down in Australia, where their interests are being helped along by the Attorney General George Brandis, who has a cozy relationship with Hollywood, but cannot present any evidence he’s ever met with consumer advocates. Brandis pushed out his proposal earlier this year and it was basically Hollywood’s wishlist, exactly as many expected. The Australian government has been accepting “comments” on the proposal, and there have been some interesting submissions. Perhaps most interesting was that the Media, Entertainment, and Arts Alliance (MEAA), a union that represents a combination of both journalists and entertainers, put in a comment supporting the extreme proposal for an internet censorship regime via filtering. You can understand why some of the more shortsighted folks on the “entertainer” side of the union might support such a policy, but the idea that a journalist’s union would do so as well seems… troubling.
The MEAA proposal said that it “strongly supports the proposal” and even talks up (incorrectly) how useful similar censorship efforts have been in the UK. However, it appears that many MEAA members quite reasonably freaked out to find out that their own union was advocating “strongly” in favor of censorship and internet filters — because hours later, MEAA withdrew its comments saying that the whole thing was all a big mistake:
It was never our intention to make a submission which could in any way be interpreted as supporting an internet filter.
We have previously campaigned against Government proposals for an internet filter and will continue to do so, as we also continue to campaign against data retention.
That’s funny, because in the submission itself they directly talked about how amazingly awesome such a filter in the UK was. Huh. It’s almost as if someone simply took some talking points from Hollywood without any real understanding of the deeper issues of what they were supporting, and submitted it — only to realize afterwards that they were a media union endorsing out and out censorship.