Mark Day’s column in The Australian today makes a few good points, but includes a few fundamental misunderstandings of how the internet works. He is alleging the internet leads to a double standard, in that things are allowed online that are not allowed in old media.
Now, when it comes to the viler forms of pornography I don’t have much disagreement with him. If you can make laws banning child porn enforceable, then they should be enforced no matter what the medium.
And I have no problem with the laws of defamation, copyright and so on and so forth applying irrespective of medium. The challenge is the enforcement, not the principle.
But his other exemplar is the kerfuffle in Adelaide over changes to the electoral laws. And this is a bit rich. As Stilgherrian points out here the whole fuss over the laws was kicked up and pushed along by News Limited’s The Advertiser. Without its inflammatory beat up and editorial, nothing would have happened.
What did the fuss amount to? A poor bit of legislative drafting, some inflammatory old media reporting, and a hot head Attorney General who made things worse every time he opened his mouth.
As I said at the time, everyone needed to take a cold shower, not least The Advertiser. In this case it was old media creating the hooplah – and yes, bloggers and commenters on blogs got on the bandwagon. Note – little difference between the two groups.
And Day shows his misunderstanding of the internet when he portrays it as a young person’s medium, and seems to think that mistakes are overlooked on the internet. As a blogger, you’d think he’d know better!