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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
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As part of Click Online's regular feedback slot, this week we publish some of your reactions to one of our recent reports on freedom of speech online.

Doctor John Turner uses his right to make his point rather forcefully:

"Hitler had free speech. Mugabe has free speech. Saddam had free speech. Free speech is worth protecting - but not if you are trying to limit the freedom of others. Get real please."

Point taken, John, but to play devil's advocate for a moment, do we ban people from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful?

And who decides what we can and cannot say on the web - something that has no bounds?


Peter Kimberly says:

"Something that has always bothered me about the debate on 'free speech on the internet' and the loudly-trumpeted danger represented by 'hate' sites is that no credit is given to the individual's capacity for discernment.

In our daily lives, most of us come into contact with many different people, some of whom hold opinions which are not only different from our own, but are sometimes odd, distasteful and even completely insane.

As functioning responsible adults, what do we do? We do not run screaming for a policeman or demand that the government euthanase the offenders, we simply exercise our intelligence and freedom - we may choose to debate the person, exchange uppercuts, or just move on to find clearer air elsewhere, all of which are choices to which we have every right.

The internet is an extension of human activity, and autonomous intelligent choice should suffice to protect us from harm. Information about home-made bombs, paedophilia and racial hatred were collected by and from human beings before appearing on the internet.

Banning sites is the same as burning books in my opinion, and proceeds from the truly dangerous idea, all too common these days, that we have to hand our freedom and dignity over to the 'authorities' in order to be 'safe', and that someone other than ourselves must decide what is good for us.

This is nonsense."


Andrew Moore has a slightly more simple take on the problem:

"Taking a site down because it has inappropriate content would be taking away the author's freedom of speech. However there is that much crud online it would be a good idea!

How about an internet cull with a Google toolbar button where you click it and the site is deleted from the server, Google's cache of it is wiped and the domain name is made available again? Wouldn't that would be nice? "

Well as long as you don't delete the Click Online URL, I suppose it could work...


Don't forget you are free to send us your thoughts, by visiting our "Contact us" page, and while we don't promise to read out your message during the programme, read it we will.


Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 0745, 2030, Sunday at 0430, 0645 and 1630, Monday at 0030. Also BBC Two: Saturday at 0745 and BBC One: Sunday at 0645. Also BBC World.

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