The International Modern Media Institute, parent organisation of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, released an open letter to Ögmunder Jónasson yesterday, seeking to address the Minister of the Interior about internet censorship.
Ögmundur is the government official behind the proposed ban on online violent pornography in Iceland, which he posits will decrease instances of violence in society. The signatories of the open letter, a global collective of privacy and human rights advocates, urge the MP to consider the negative impact that instituting online censorship will have on the rights of Icelanders to freely access information online.
“Traditionally, censorship has involved preventing publication and persecution of people with unpopular opinions. On the Internet, censorship has taken a new guise. It doesn’t merely prevent publication, but also restricts people’s access to the information they seek. Rather than silencing a voice, the result is depriving the population of material they can see and read. This is censorship, as it skews the way people see the world. It is tempting to regard filtering the internet as a quick and easy way to restrict unwanted speech, opinions, or media, which the government regards as harmful for either them or the people. The right to see the world as it is, is critical to the very tenets and functions of a democracy and must be protected at all costs,” the letter reads, in part.
The letter goes on to make the points that it would be technically impossible to censor some content without continuously monitoring all content, and that if the government is concerned with Iceland’s youth learning sexual violence from pornography then there should be an increased focus on improved sexual education in schools.
The letter, in its entirety, can be read on the Institute’s website.