Sunday, August 10, 2008

“Streisand Effect”

From today’s The Gazette (Montreal): Reporters are still chafing over the issue of blocked websites, only two weeks after Beijing and the International Olympic Committee went toe-to-toe over the issue and the Chinese seemed to back off.

Plenty of websites are still blocked, such as Amnesty International, Free Tibet, and a YouTube video showing the 1989 protest and aftermath at Tiananmen Square.

Aren’t the Games going swimmingly? Seen the nice commercials, have you? Notice how the sports reporters refer to the “haze” in Beijing? Catch the announcement by the officials of the International Olympic Committee are giving China a pass on this one?

Don’t mean to be political, but still, I wonder if China’s blocking action will come back to bite ‘em. It’s been generally proven that trying to block access to information on the Worldwide Web is self-defeating (at least most of the time.). This has been called the Streisand Effect, after an attempt by Barbra Streisand to get photos of her Malibu, CA, mansion removed from the Internet. There’s even a website devoted to the concept now.

William Shakespeare said it first (or best): “Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long.” You can certainly count on the IOC to avoid offending totalitarian regimes. Let’s wait for a bit and see if the Games’ advertisers pay the piper, eh?

File photo by Frederic J Brown.

1 comment:

Richard Laurence Baron said...

PS: Check out where China stands on the “Worldwide Press Freedom Index” - #163, 7th from the bottom:

However you feel about the press, supporting freedom of communication reflects on every marketer and even every advertiser – even the ones who flack patent medicines and sex toys. There’s no choice for me: Leave it to stakeholders to say “Yea” or “Nay.”

To the degree that it keeps marcomms honest, so be it. Ta for Sunday.