China’s net video crackdown could hurt YouTube – web – Technology –

January 4, 2008

China’s net video crackdown could hurt YouTube – web – Technology –

This piece from the Sydney Morning Herald today continues to mark the declining standard of human rights and free speech in China.

YouTube and other video-sharing websites are the latest to come under direct censorship. I particularly like this:

Video that involves national secrets, hurts the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography will be banned. Providers must delete and report such content.

“Those who provide internet video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism … and abide by the moral code of socialism,” the rules say.

What is a “moral code of socialism”? From my understanding a moral code of socialism would allow the greatest expression of human rights, including sexual freedoms; the right to free speech and criticism and freedom of assembly and distribution of political materials.

Of course there’s also capitalist morals, such as these demonstrated by a sycophantic YouTube spokestroll. The company’s interest in China is to continue to keep Google and YouTube profitable:

YouTube hopes the rules won’t cut it off from the rapidly growing number of Chinese residents with internet access, spokesman Ricardo Reyes said.

“We believe that the Chinese government fully recognizes the enormous value of online video and will not enforce the regulations in a way that could deprive the Chinese people of its benefits and potential for business and economic development, education and culture, communication, and entertainment,” Reyes said.

If you want to know what Korea’s Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, thinks of socialist morals you can read this disturbing screed.

Social networking brings trouble for those who look

September 24, 2007

Two stories that again raise issues about YouTube and other social networking sites.

A weatherman on a US TV network has been embarrassed by some of his colleagues uploading a video of him goofing off to YouTube. this from a Sydney Morning Herald version of the story:

WBKO-TV, a station based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, said on its website that it has reprimanded weather anchor Chris Allen for “acting in a juvenile and unprofessional manner.” Rick McCue, station vice president and general manager, said Allen remains an employee.

The tape was from years earlier, never aired on television and was stolen by a former employee, who posted it on the internet, according to the station, which did not name the former employee.

This second story is about the Virgin company being sued for stealing a young woman’s image and using it an advertising campaign.

Details from the SMH:

A Texas family has sued Australia’s Virgin Mobile phone company, claiming it caused their teenage daughter grief and humiliation by plastering her photo on billboards and website advertisements without consent.

The family of Alison Chang says Virgin Mobile grabbed the picture from Flickr, Yahoo Inc’s popular photo-sharing website, and failed to credit the photographer by name.

Chang’s photo was part of a Virgin Mobile Australia campaign called “Are You With Us Or What?” It features pictures downloaded from Flickr superimposed with the company’s ad slogans.

A colleague of mine, whom I quote occasionally, but who doesn’t want to be identified has sent the following through to me this morning. It helps to put some of my concerns intoa more theoretical context and I shall be returning to these themes in my next book, tentatively called “Journalism in the age of YouTube”, but perhaps going to be published with “DIY News: Global trends in digital journalism”.

Dear Learned Colleagues,

I’ve been very nervous about these social networking sites for some
time, but have never really put my mind to probing that unease…

This piece, from Online Opinion, crystalizes much of my nervousness…


“On a local level, this is the growing phenomenon of “management
empathy”, where everyone at every level of the workplace now experiences
the same budgetary pressure from faceless suits. On a global level, the
hollowing out of hierarchy comes in the practice of skills and knowledge
transfer across countries according to the needs of global business,
when those with jobs in the West end up training others who will be
hired by the same firm at a cheaper rate to replace them. In these
circumstances, making friends, like with like, in cultural and regional
vacuums actually seems the worst kind of preparation for building the
alliances necessary to combat this wider structural trend.

Capitalism may have finally managed to produce an atomised workforce
that has no aspirations for living wage claims because overwork has been
normalised and an all-seeing screen binds together our public and
private identities. It is this reality that young people are preparing
for as they learn to “broadcast themselves” online. But those of us
concerned about their future must help them realise that while the
friendships they treasure on social networking sites may be premised on
a form of loyalty, the workings of capital and labour hire under
neoliberalism most definitely are not.”

More APEC commentary on YouTube

September 6, 2007

There’s plenty of stuff going on with YouTubers about the APEC summit in Sydney.
Here’s a selection. I guess there’s no way (yet) to put a rabble-proof fence around the Internet.

Those "dirty" Europeans, MySpace, YouTube, censorship and the Thai Military Junta

July 4, 2007

I’m always amazed about how hot under the collar some people get when the topic of s*x is mentioned. Haven’t prudes got anything better to do than be offended by a bit of nudity and rumpy-pumpy? The latest shock-horror outrage is a fairly harmless little advert produced by the European Commission to promote “art house” films.

According to news reports today, the clip, one of the most viewed on YouTube at the moment, has attracted the unwanted attention of the dirty (on the inside) raincoat brigade.

In the interests of balance – that is offending everyone equally – here it is. Nothing to it really, though it does show gay couples embracing the “beast with two backs” position. Oh, and if you look closely I think the woman in the first shot has a Brazilian – they’re everywhere now, so common. Nothing risque anymore in a close and personal shave, a bit like tattoos really. There’s someone who looks under 18 (to me anyway) in the audience, mouth agape (as you do in “art house” cinema). And, just by the way, aren’t there any non-whites living in Europe these days? It would be far more offensive to the neo-nazis to have black and brown people doing the rhythm thing.
Nothing to see here folks, keep moving!

Perhaps the only sensible thing to do is to take a leaf out of the Thai military junta’s playbook and ban bloody YouTube altogether. That way no one can be offended. In May 2007 YouTube agreed to remove four clips from its site that the Thai government said were insulting to the king. YouTube agreed! Why?

Well, advertising revenues might be one answer. The world of “DIY” video-stardom is also expanding. MySpace last week (29 June 2007) launched a rival site, MySpaceTV.

Our obsession with self-celebrity is destructive to say the least. Not to mention making it easier for the forces of Laura Norder to keep a weather eye on the trouble makers.

The YouTube Election

April 27, 2007

Free Times – Columbia’s Free Alternative Weekly:

In this week’s Free Times, Dan Cook commented on the ways in which YouTube may become an interesting media battle ground in the 2008 US Presidential election. Noting that unauthorised clips of several candidates had made it to the site, he went on:

“It’s looking more and more like a YouTube election season after John McCain made his way to the site in a big way last week with comments he made about Iran. Speaking on April 18 at a VFW hall in Murrells Inlet, S.C., McCain was asked about whether the United States might launch air strikes against Iran. McCain responded making a reference to the song “Barbara Ann” by The Beach Boys, saying, “That old, uh, that old Beach Boys song, ‘Bomb Iran.’” He then sang a mock version of the chorus, “Bomb, bomb, bomb … .” Though the comment was clearly made as a joke — McCain’s position is that bombing should only be used as a last resort — the episode highlighted once again how the democratization of media is throwing scripted presidential campaigns off balance. Previous videos that have made waves this election season include an amateur Barack Obama ad that lampooned Hillary Clinton and a video of Sen. Clinton singing the national anthem off-key.”

This is interesting from a media theory point of view and very useful to me. I’m just beginning to write a book about this, hopefully to be published next year in Australia.
It would be even better if Cook were right that this is the “democratization” of the media. My worry is that the YouTube generation don’t vote, many of them are perhaps still underage.
If they did mobilise, perhaps McCain would go down, but Hilary and Obama wouldn’t be far behind.

There’s similar stuff posted on YouTube about Australian Prime Minister John Howard, but the lampooning of the PM hasn’t made the news yet “down under”.
My favourite SATIRICAL YouTube clip of the PM is this little ditty: “John Howard is an ar$&l1cker” [RATED PG, occasional use of obscene humour]