Nick Cohen has written an entry (A connected world proves no threat to tyrants) in the comment is free section of the Guardian about how bloggers aren’t changing the world after all. He says
…most bloggers aren’t interested in the democratisation of opinion. They write about their lives, what books they are reading and music they are listening to.
which is something I’ve already said here.
Contrary to the optimism of the Nineties, that it would allow oppressed peoples to escape censors and read forbidden opinions, the net is proving surprisingly easy for dictatorships to control.
Well, sort of. In spite of all the hype about the Great Firewall, if Nanny wanted to be a total bitch, she’d block access to all foreign news sites because I’m still able to read plenty of stories on line that are unflattering to the image of the inGlorious Motherland. Take ESWN, for example. Somehow it remains accessible from the mainland in spite of much of its content. If I mention stories from there, there’s a good chance that I’ll be returned as a search result for the same subject. But none of it is leading to any sort of change in the politics and political structure of China because the audience is external to the country. Unless the stories are translated, very, very few foreign journalists have the faintest idea what’s getting Chinese netizens agitated because of the language barrier.
The Chinese part of Cyberia remains closely monitored, but from what I’ve read, it seems people go online, have a rant about some controversial issue, it gets deleted, end of story. It seems to have been awhile since there was any Internet story from China which stirred the foreign press into the usual denunciation of Internet censorship. When I remember him, I keep wondering whatever happened to Mr Anti. It seemed that if anyone was going to get Spaces blocked, it was him, but he’s disappeared into the void. There haven’t been any stories about prominent Chinese bloggers losing their bus passes to the Web in ages.
However, I’ve just found that I still can’t access the Peking Duck blog. I happened to click on a link to it from Chris’s blog a few days ago and got a 403 Forbidden message. The blog doesn’t appear to have been blocked. Perhaps it’s local Nanny being quirky.