Wire: Anti-Censorship Activists Clever Gag

11 March 2010 (Inquisitr Wire): The Australian Governmentʼs Internet censorship proposal is a deep concern for artists, civil libertarians and for parents — indeed, it is a concern for all Australians. Anti-censorship
activists plan to strike back with an evening of creative actions against the filter dubbed ‘Gag Yourself on April Fools’.

The artists behind the action, Simon Frew and Jade Pegler1 wanted to create a visual spectacle of censorship. “We plan to get as many volunteers as possible to walk around being censored.” said Mr Frew, a member of the Pirate Party Australia. “The easiest way to do this is to wear a gag, but we’d like to encourage people to come up with more creative ways to represent the tyranny of censorship.”

Mr. Frew continued “Despite assurances that everything being blocked will be ‘the worst of the worst’, the leaked Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) blacklist that is already in place has blocked out a dentist and a school canteen website as well as sites on euthanasia and abortion. This is especially concerning in light of the furore created by Bill Henson’s work being hysterically compared to child pornography by the likes of the Prime Minister.”

“Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has repeatedly boasted of the plan to block graffiti sites on the basis that it is an illegal activity. This is a legitimate form of expression that goes back to at least Roman times and has always remained an avenue for dissent by sectors of society otherwise dispossessed. Will this extend to famous artists such as Banksy whose works are almost exclusively installed on the street?” he asked.

“We are going to get our volunteers to participate in distributed street theatre. We got the idea from flashmob events by groups like Improv Everywhere and happenings first put on by John Cage and Allan Kaprow in the 50’s. We have simple instructions that participants follow, namely walk around the city being censored. The plan is to have two meeting points organised for a start and finish, the rest will be up to the participants themselves.”

Rodney Serkowski, Pirate Party Australia Secretary commented “We fully support this event, and hope that other community organisations taking action against the Internet censorship proposal will follow suit, lending a hand to make the event a success. It’s a fun, nonintrusive way to get the message out, and one that everyone can participate in. If people aren’t comfortable walking around gagged, just come along to hand out flyers, and talk about the issue.”

“Some people initially may not be opposed to a ‘clean feed’, however usually when they read and understand the implications of the government’s censorship proposals, the reaction is not positive towards what the government is attempting. This is what the current campaign is lacking. This action helps to attract the attention of the wider community, and distribute informational material in a fun way, to a wide spectrum of people within the community.”

The action will officially start at 5:30pm, Thursday April 1. The initial meeting will be at Hyde Park North, near the fountain and will conclude in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay.

Go to http://gagthefilter.com/ for more details.