The transparency group’s move comes as a response to the the Chinese Public Security Bureau’s carte-blanche censorship of youtube, the BBC, CNN, the Guardian and other sites carrying video footage of the Tibetan people’s recent heroic stand against the inhumane Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Wikileaks has also placed the collection in two easy to use archives together with a HTML index page so they may be easily copied, placed on websites, emailed across the internet as attachments and uploaded to peer to peer networks.
Censorship, like communism, seems like a reasonable enough idea to begin with. While “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” sounds unarguable, the world has learned that these words call forth a power elite to administer them with coercive force. Such elites are quick to define the needs of their own members as paramount. Similarly “from mouth according to its ability and to each ear according to its need” seems harmless enough, but history shows that censorship also requires an anointed class to define this ‘need’ and to make violence against those who continue talking. Such power is quickly corrupted.
The first ingredient of civil society is the people’s right to know, because without such understanding no human being can meaningfully choose to support anything, let alone a political party. Knowledge is the driver of every political process, every constitution, every law and every regulation. The communication of knowledge is without salient analogue. It is living, unique and demands its rightful place at the summit of society. Since knowledge is the creator and regulator of all law, its position beyond law commands due respect.
James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and other Enlightenment framers of the US Bill of Rights understood this well when they began the First Amendment’s constitutional protections of speech and of the press with ‘Congress shall make no law….’.
As knowledge flows across the world it is time to sum great freedoms of every nation and not subtract or divide them.
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