Google CEO Eric Schmidt sees a conspiracy behind the growing Internet censorship ordered by the judiciary. I don’t know if this is the case, but Mr. Schmidt raises some interesting questions – unfortunately, he may be looking at the wrong villain.
The Google chief told AFP,
“I’m always suspicious of these broad bans,” Schmidt told a gathering at non-profit public policy institute New America Foundation, of which he is chairman of the board.
“In every case we looked at, there is an official reason then another reason. There is an awful lot of political criticism they are blocking at the same time. I am very suspicious here.”
I would be telling a lie if I said that I did not have some similar suspicions. But without having any proofs, how can I write such a thing. More importantly, though, I think perhaps Mr. Schmidt has got the wrong culprit.
If the government – that is, Zardari and Gilani – wanted to censor political criticism, surely the Internet would not be their primary target. Yes, certainly there is some anti-government material on the Internet, but there is also much more pro-government material and even more reasonable discussion from people who are simply discussing the current events without any political agenda.
Even with the Internet censorship, everyone can still read the newspapers and watch the TV talk shows that attack the government daily. Aren’t these the real purveyors of political criticism?
Also, remember – this is very important – it was not the government that ordered the ban but it was the Lahore High Court. This came just as the judiciary is increasing its methods of attack on the government and is whining about people noticing its actions.
If there was really some official authority to gain from the Internet censorship, wouldn’t it be elements in the judiciary who are trying to make a ‘Coup by other means’?
Think about it – if the judiciary censors the Internet, they can get support from Jamaatis and other right wing groups. Also, they can censor the major delivery method for criticism of judiciary’s actions.
Hopefully, all of this is just fantasy and fiction. I would much rather believe that the judiciary would not stoop to such scheming. It is below the dignity of the court, and I like to believe, even if I disagree with them on some points, that their Lordships on the courts are honestly doing what they believe is right and not taking part in a conspiracy to overthrow the government.
I only write this because I think it is important to correct when someone as famous as Google chief makes some theories that are based not in facts but in incomplete knowledge.