When is it censorship?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The day’s continuing furious debate about editing Twain leads me to further thoughts on censorship and free speech.

  • Han Han, China’s most popular blogger, was able to publish only one issue of a new magazine for “alternative thinkers,” before authorities he can’t even identify forced him to shut down. Han asks, “If we ever met, I will not hold a grudge, but please could you tell me what happened?"
  • A new collection of essays, The Offensive Internet, discusses the loss of privacy we experience with unfettered internet use. Its editors write, “On the Internet, where rumors, gossip, and malicious speech can quickly gain momentum, there is little chance of challenging an unknown speaker, and the Internet is a village you can’t really leave.”

One thing all these issues have in common is the value of the conversations they provoke. That brings me to thanking all of our readers for their patience with the technical problems that have made it impossible to leave reader comments on our blog this week. I think we’ve worked out the kinks, so please do comment on anything you’ve read here. My next challenge is to moderate comments without censoring. I hope I’ve learned something.