Censorship fails.

As if to prove my point, a dispatch from Tehran details the Iranian experience with satellites and the morality police. The interviewee puts it best:

On the satellite channels, I watch ‘America’s Got Talent’ dubbed in Persian, while at the same time, our state television is showing an hourlong program on mathematics. Which one would you prefer?

Starve the state-regulated channels of Western content and citizens will just tune out. Make the Chinese government follow a similar avenue.

Update: this New Yorker profile of Rupert Murdoch, way back from ’95, also now comes to mind:

On September 1, 1993, he invited hundreds of advertisers to Whitehall Palace, in London, and gave a speech explaining why the News Corporation was at the cutting edge of the communications revolution. He declared that George Orwell was wrong. “Advances in the technology of telecommunications have proved an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere,” he said. “Fax machines enable dissidents to bypass state-controlled print media; direct-dial telephony makes it difficult for a state to control interpersonal voice communications. And satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television channels.”

A month after the Whitehall speech, the Chinese Prime Minister signed into law a virtual ban on individual ownership of satellite dishes, and a suddenly chastened Murdoch was forced to show solicitude toward a totalitarian regime.


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