No Clean Feed

Ok, so I just sat down and wrote a letter to my local MP.  Because this is something that really matters to me.  If you are concerned about the issue of censorship of the internet in Australia, and about mandatory ISP level filtering, I urge you to write to your MP yourself.  You can find yours by going to the Australian Electoral Commission website and entering your postcode or suburb.  We need intelligent, organised, rational action from as many Australians as possible to challenge this restrictive, backwards action from our government.  I hope you can take the time to take part in this, because inaction now will only mean more restrictions and censorship in the future.

Here is my  letter (written very quickly in one big rush!) to my MP:

Dear Mr Perrett,

I am writing to you as a member of your constituency in Moreton, and as someone who voted for you in November 2007. I voted Labor because the archaic attitudes of the then Howard government frightened me, and were not reflective of the kind of country I believe Australia is, nor should it be.

Today I heard the news that your government has given the green light to introduce mandatory ISP level filtering of the internet for “refused classification” level material. This is the kind of restrictive, backwards attitude towards the Australian people’s right and responsibility to access and use the media (and not just the internet) freely and openly that I would have expected from the Howard government.

I am a librarian. I work in information technology for public libraries, working very hard to ensure that our country today has access to information and education and improved literacy. Censorship and access to information is important to me as a librarian, an Australian and someone who believes in our right to freedom of information and Australians taking the personal responsibility for their use of information and the media.

I do understand that there need to be measures in place to ensure criminal activity is stopped, as well as vulnerable members of our society being protected while using all forms of media. But this should not happen through mandatory censorship of all Australians. We are not China Mr Perrett, and to me, the concern is in that “refused classification” will broaden and expand to encompass anything that the governing body does not want Australians to have access to. If a group of people gather peacefully online to show dissent and lampoon your government, does this mean that the tools/sources used can be refused classification as well? That voices of Australians are silenced?

I have always been proud to be an Australian and sang our praises as a country that has access to all media freely that other parts of the world do not – even Western cultures like the USA and Britain. Australians are generally far more versed in events, politics, world news, history and all subjects than our equivalents around the world. For any form of censorship to be placed on us mandatorily is not only offensive, but it is a global embarrassment.

Add to this that as it is, internet access in Australia is already backwards, adding mandatory filtering is only going to force the technology further behind in speed, accuracy and usability.

It is MY responsibility to use the internet and all other forms of media legally, responsibly and to take an active role in knowing what my children and children I am responsible for are using in the media. It is not the Australian governments role to intervene as though I and all other Australian citizens are incapable of taking these responsibilities ourselves. The Australian government need to be part of educating the Australian people on HOW to use media responsibly, appropriately and safely, not deciding how to do that for them.

I urge you to think carefully about what your constituents want, and our rights and responsibilities as Australian citizens. I urge you to listen and indeed join Australian people in raising their voices to say clearly that mandatory internet filtering and censorship is not acceptable.

Show that you are committed to finding reasonable, working solutions to smart media education for ALL forms of media and information without censorship of a nation of people who are proud of their freedom of information. I thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.

Yours sincerely

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December 15, 2009. censorship, freedom, information, internet, No Clean Feed, responsibility, technology, transparency.

10 Comments

  1. CJ replied:

    Good letter, mate. Fight the good fight.

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      Thank you. Not bad considering I dashed it off on the fly. Sometimes that’s when I’m at my most coherent!

  2. Tweets that mention No Clean Feed « The Sleepydumpling -- Topsy.com replied:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Jackmanson, Campbell Fuller. Campbell Fuller said: RT @djackmanson: RT @sleepydumpling: I just blogged on the subject of #nocleanfeed – http://bit.ly/6KAnUP […]

  3. Kerri Baillie replied:

    Kath, once again a well written post – my question can i copy this and write my member too to add my voice

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      Certainly Kerri. Anyone is welcome to use parts of it to write to their local MP, if it means that they will. The more voices they hear, the clearer it will be to them that this is an archaic approach to the responsibilities of media education.

  4. Mark replied:

    That is quite an eloquent letter for being so hastily written! Congrats on the quick action, too.

    I read it quickly, so may have missed it, did you say anything about Refused Classification not being the only thing being blocked, but also “prohibited content”? Also, the fact that the filter does nothing about Instant Messaging or P2P, and may even take money away from police looking to investigate/enforce laws?

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      I didn’t get that far Mark, but I think I will be writing more when it’s not so late at night.

  5. rustybeamish replied:

    Bravo – maintain the rage!

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      It’s not so much about rage as sadness, grief and astonishment. I’m hoping that there comes a measured, well thought out approach to challenging this plan, rather than marching in the streets and childish pranks.

  6. Report on Monday’s Anti-Censorship Meeting #sicbne | Stop Internet Censorship replied:

    […] [For a sample letter written to a local MP recently, click here Also see Bernard Keane's article in Crikey on writing to Ministers, and "Liberal Hack" Tim Andrew's […]

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