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30 December 2016

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As Robin indicates, role models are rather many. Bought a Thai-made item recently?
"Thailand’s Constitutional Court last week upheld a law that metes out 10 years in prison to anyone who voices an opinion — pro or con..."
See: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/4/prayuth-chan-ocha-bans-discussion-of-thailand-draf/

Impunity is THE master class agenda in PNG, as said by Barbara Short and Peter Kinjap.

What happens when the building which houses NICTA has a power cut and the diesel in the standby generator has been stolen by one of the security guards?

System down boss. Em bagarap

As long as there has been communication, whether in word or print, it seems that governments have been keen to control or suppress anything deemed inappropriate.

Things that were inappropriate in the medieval era included anything said or written that criticised or otherwise departed from the official position of both Church and State.

Thus, poor Bruno was burnt at the stake for having the temerity to suggest that the Church's cosmological views were contradicted by the observable facts. Similarly, Galileo's observation that, contrary to Church doctrine, the Earth actually orbited the Sun, not vice versa, resulted in permanent house arrest and the suppression of his writings.

In the Elizabethan era, the English government exercised tight control over the printing business through a stringent licensing system for printers and restricting access to a printing press. Anything published that was deemed contrary to the interests of the Crown resulted in a short and nasty visit to the Tower of London for a chat with the authorities.

Now, with the internet becoming an all pervasive source of information, governments across the world are moving to monitor and restrict what can be published. This is being justified mainly by claiming to be protecting public safety, whilst ignoring the fact that there are already a formidable array of legal tools available to deal with the genuinely malicious and criminal misuse of the internet.

Various government authorities are being empowered to decide what constitutes an inappropriate publication.

At the same time, governments are investing a lot of resources in distributing their own propaganda, misinformation and fake news across the internet, as well as using it to conduct cyber warfare in various forms.

None of this bodes well for the rights and liberties of citizens.

Thus, PNG's new NICTA seems much more likely to be used to suppress inconvenient truths than it is to protect the public from some of the genuinely nasty stuff that appears on the internet (even assuming that this is actually possible).

On the bright side, the internet is now so big and pervasive, and many of its users so knowledgeable and skillful, that NICTA is almost certain to be fighting a losing battle.

History shows that the truth will out, whether governments like it or not, but this will not stop them from trying to suppress it.

The malady of restriction is not confined to PNG alone, it would seem: http://www.infowars.com/red-alert-obama-signs-bill-putting-cia-in-control-of-media/

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