Australia GetsUp against censorship-SMH

March 25, 2009

Campaign against net censorship builds
Sydney Morning Herald: March 21, 2009

Activist group GetUp is set to launch a television advertising campaign against the government’s proposed internet censorship regime after a blacklist of banned websites was leaked online.

GetUp has invited members to submit their creative ideas for an ad to be screened nationally next month.

The blacklist contains more than 2000 websites and includes child pornography, bestiality and satanism sites and other illegal material banned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

But it also includes a small number of sites featuring no objectionable material whatsoever.

GetUp said the ACMA blacklist included a Queensland dentist, a tuckshop management consultant, animal carers and a tour operator.

“This time it was a dentist from Queensland. The next time it might be a website that criticises internet censorship, or a rival political party,” GetUp national director Simon Sheikh said in a statement.

“The government is asking us to trust them that a flawed system won’t be abused. Australians know and demand better.”

Mr Sheikh said the leaking of the ACMA list was in nobody’s interest but this showed the dangers of this system of censorship.

“We simply won’t know what the government is keeping from us,” he said.

“Clearly, when sites are added in error to this secret list there is no recourse for those affected to appeal, address or even know what is happening.”

Mr Sheikh said Australians would not stand by and let potentially innocent people get caught up in the federal government’s internet censorship.

He said that was why GetUp had decided to step up the campaign against the government’s ludicrous internet censorship plans.

People have been invited to submit script ideas, music, images and personal anecdotes to collaborate in creating a national TV ad to be screened next month.

Mr Sheikh said GetUp’s Save The Net campaign had already attracted the support of more than 98,000 Australians and has included an online petition and an online advertising blitz viewed more than 3.5 million times.

The campaign has been funded by thousands of small donations from members.

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