Censorship

There was the blog ban. Then there was the Orkut ban. Now, it’s apparently Youtube.

And the parallels between what’s in the news and what’s in my life continue.

Look at the last post. It was first posted on TomaytoTomahto. Now read the comments thread there. It’s rather two-dimensional; a conversation of sorts. Now, go to Nita’s post.  You notice there’s no trackback there to either Canace or Tomatoes? And there are only two comments from me? Well, I tried to trackback, and it wasn’t approved. I’ve commented thrice before, and she’s disapproved the comments. She approved the two later comments, which only asked questions and didn’t express any opinion on what she’d said.

Let’s look at her comment policy:

Any comment which is personal in nature either about me or any of the other commentators will not be published.

Fair enough. But my comments weren’t personal; they were about her post, and my disagreements with it. You can check: they’re on Tomatoes. And she disapproved them, nonetheless. Her blog, her wish, you might say. But I’m entitled to know why, no? If I don’t agree with state censorship, surely private censorship is as problematic? Got me thinking, that did. Here’s my take on why her censorship of my comments/post trackbacks are problematic.

Where I come from, trackbacks are an advanced form of referencing. Which means they show my readers where I picked up what I’m writing about, and give them a chance to examine what I’m saying in the light of the material, like normal referencing, but also provide her readers a chance to examine what other people are saying on the subject.

Now, she hasn’t yet figured out how to prevent me linking to her post, so my readers can still go back. But if my trackback doesn’t appear in her comments thread, her readers cannot see that people are disagreeing with her. So she would rather spoonfeed her readers what she thinks are appropriate views. Which would be okay if she had an honest statement to that effect in her comments policy, but this way, people think her comments thread is representative of responses to a post like that, and it quite simply isn’t. 

So, while we discuss state censorship, it might be worthwhile to examine our own acts of censorship: private, personal paternalisms that we all perpetuate. After all, any form of censorship, by the State or by private individuals, can only be justified when the process leading up to it, the premises underlying it, and its effects, are open to scrutiny.

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