Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 1:11am
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, AUTHOR: Danial Henninger]
[Commentary] Defending his company's presence in China before a House committee recently, Yahoo Senior Vice President Michael Callahan articulated the ethos of the Internet on behalf of the whole wide world of Web believers -- from inventor Al Gore down to the lowliest bedroom blogger and back up to Google zillionaire founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Speaketh Mr. Callahan: "We believe the Internet can positively transform lives, societies and economies. We believe the Internet is built on openness." Despite its claims to special status as the guardian angel of unfettered expression, the Internet industry's commercial success -- and indeed that of the Internet itself -- depends crucially on including in its mantras a commitment to protecting the ideas of private markets and free trade, ideas equally responsible for the long-running success of the Western tradition, which gave us the Internet. It would be naive to think it is going to be possible to fence off Internet speech from attempts by governments and activists to impair markets and trade. Maybe the Google Foundation could pitch a penny or two into that fight. The Internet in its relative infancy is like a child exercising new freedom primarily through challenges to orderly systems -- old retailing models, old media, old privacy rights, old libel standards, even old notions of parental control. Some of the pushed, notably governments with statutory power, are going to push back. Part of this process of challenge and progress, then, will have to include rediscovering and redefending some very old Western ideas and values. Free speech is one, but it is not the only one.
* Rock 'n' Rolling Into China
Rolling Stone's China launch illustrates the possibilities -- and difficulties -- of journalism in one of the world's most censored media markets, where readers looking for edgy content and the Communist Party must both be satisfied.
- Packet Politics
- Media Showers
- Hillary Talks About 'It'
- Yahoo's Lashing Highlights Risks Of China Market
- Rice says free countries must influence others to remove press restrictions
- Bloomberg chief uses lunch to lobby Genachowski against NBC-Comcast merger
- China's Internet Gets Around to Security
- A flaw in the proposed federal shield law for journalism?
- The UN's Internet Power Grab
- Google holders seek human rights, censorship review
- Shielding journalists in the Internet era
- G**gle in China ...
- China's instructions on reporting on Google
- Judge Rules News Station Is Immune From 'Cyber Libel' Resulting From Commenters
- Protecting Britain’s press freedoms