Freedom instead of fearSunday, April 15, 2007 at 12:14 | Posted in Freedom of speech, internet, Media, TV | Leave a comment
If you are old enough you may still remember the time when there was no Internet. Younger people obviously have hard time believing this. They must be wondering where we got our news and other information.
Most people used to have a box in the corner of their living room. It was called television or TV just for short. A what? I’ll tell you.
The box looked a bit like a computer screen. The contents were received through the air by radio waves, at later times also by cable. There were a number of output channels for different content streams.
And that was it? Yes that was it. Well, a junior may ask, how did you manage your input if there was no keyboard and mouse?
There was no need for input. Television was a one way street from the content producer to the viewer. A bit like the early days of the Internet but even more restricted than that. There are still some of those antique web sites of the prehistoric age of the web to be seen. TV was even more boring than those.
So where did we put our own contents? Those who were rich enough could by the equipment but broadcasting licenses were regulated by the government. So there was no way for a common citizen to reach a large audience.
That must have been comfortable for the governments of the time. They did not need to consider the public opinion because critical voices did not reach further than you were able to shout. But since everybody had the right to express their opinion, they could still say that there was a freedom of speech.
The governments became worried when anybody was able to say what they think and actually had access to millions of people. A citizen expressing a critical view was a potential threat or at least a pain in the ass for those in power. So to miscredit critical people the governments suggested they were terrorists. In some countries they passed laws on surveillance of private citizens.
Many people protested against the plans and the citizens became aware that their governments meant to spread fear of terrorism and in fact impose their own terror against free speech. Thanks to the global networks created through web 2.0 those evil plans of the governments were stopped. It happened approximately at the same time as many people purged their television and only trusted the sources of their own choice. That was when freedom took the place of fear in the hearts and minds of citizens.