Censorship is always a hot topic in discussions regarding the internet, with recent flare-ups surrounding such matters as the government trying to remove web sites promoting suicide by sulfide gas (although Bloomberg reported how to do it), so I was pleased to see the issue being tackled by Marsh Inc and reported on by japan.internet.com in this survey on web censorship.
Between the 12th and 14th of November 2008 300 members of the Marsh monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 50.0% of the sample were female, 20.0% in their twenties, 20.0% in their thirties, 20.0% in their forties, 20.0% in their fifties, and 20.0% aged sixty or older.
I am certainly not for government-level censorship of either domestic or foreign web content, but I do support properly-executed legal orders for domestic sites to remove content, and of course self-regulation by service providers. The web should be neither a free-for-all or a free-for-none, but instead a healthy balance must be reached. In Q2, I think they must mean within Japan, as The Great Firewall of China is a fact.
For those curious about the Japanese language used in the original survey, I translated 検閲, ken-etsu, as censorship, and 規制, kisei, as regulation.
Q1: Do you know about “web censorship”? (Sample size=300)
Can explain it in great detail 4.0% Know a lot about it 16.7% Heard about it 53.7% Don’t know anything about it 25.7%
Q2: Do you think there is web censorship? (Sample size=300)
Yes 60.0% No 40.0%
Q3: Do you think web censorship is needed? (Sample size=300)
Should be regulation and censorship 14.0% Should be regulation, depending on contents 51.0% Can’t say either way 27.0% Would be better if there was no censorship 5.7% There shouldn’t be any censorship 2.3%