Am I dreaming or did the Guardian really post a hair-raising blog on internet censorship at 5 pm GMT yesterday, then whip the article off its Comment-is-free front page and into its archives less than nine hours later?
And could that be because this newspaper realised that its own bloggers would see a curious connection between the subject of the blog and its own recent behaviour?
The big business of net censorship
Clamping down on free speech on the internet has been a lucrative enterprise for software manufacturers
o Jo Glanville
o guardian.co.uk, Monday November 17 2008 17.00 GMT
o Article history
One Cif blogger, MarchOnRome, said, ‘It’s instructive that one of the few times the Guardian has anything bad to say about censoring the internet is when they think someone might be making a profit out of it.’
But that’s the old Guardian s/he’s thinking of. To the new version of this newspaper, it’s apparently – and how I hope I’m mistaken – okay to restrict free speech as long as the job’s being done by a company, . . . for instance, a newspaper, rather than by a government.
As this very perch on WordPress noted at the weekend, quoting George Steiner,
The censorship which profit imposes on the media is as destructive, perhaps more so than that of political despotism.
. . . Some of us have also noticed a curious omission in the latest redesign of the Guardian‘s books blog. Articles about the publishing business are no longer listed as a category of archive on the blog’s home page – as in the earlier version of the site, introduced in the spring. Why not? Few of these articles have been critical of the industry, but bloggers’ comments on them are often incendiary.
Does any of this tell us about the Guardian’s future vision of itself? Does it perhaps mean to serve mainly as chief events-organiser for the Hay festival, the publishing industry’s annual self-promotion jamboree, much loathed by the newspaper’s own bloggers?