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 Everett True

does the Internet encourage free speech or discourage it?

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masked-ball-the-elephant-princess

Isaac was learning to spell his ‘dis’ words the other day … disadvantage, disappear, disaster, disability, disappoint, disintegrate, disgust, discourage.

“I think it’s a bit of a modern cliche that the Internet has brought about a revolution in free speech, that people are much less censored and can say anything they want. I think there are elements to which that’s true, for example if you look at the Arab Spring that wouldn’t have happened without the Internet and Twitter, but the forms which have allowed us to have free speech, for example, the form where you write a piece of opinion in the newspaper, have been thrown open in a completely new way, so that if someone does something like that, and expresses an opinion, they are now open to storms of comment from this new form of the blog and the commentator. And much of that comment is like attending a masked ball, so the person who’s written the piece has to appear as themselves, with their authority and their knowledge and everything exposed to the audience. The audience have masks up, they can say whatever they like. That is very intimidating, it’s very personal, it can be very cruel. I think it destroys or intimidates and allows fewer things to be said” – Kate Clanchy (from the writer’s introduction to Iced, BBC Play of the Week, 28 October 2011)

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