In common with many, I applauded this government's stated intention to prevent children from accessing pornography. And few right-headed individuals would disagree that websites showing how to make bombs or incite suicide or sites depicting extreme violence are also unacceptable in a civilised society and should be banned.
However it now seems the government's measures intend to go far further than that, by intruding on the human right to religious and spiritual freedom of expression via the blocking of 'Esoteric Websites and Alternative Spirituality'
The Oxford Dictionary definition of 'esoteric' is: What is the purpose of this mission creep? To save vulnerable youngsters from the dangers of meditation perhaps?Dissuade them from taking up a career as a philosopher, a psychic, a yoga teacher or from becoming a vegetarian, an animal welfare activist or a reflexologist? And this only months after the EU published their latest guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief.
Far from being protected, minorities are an endangered species, it seems.
But for all its hand wringing about children and their safety and innocence, the government is apparently quite happy to allow loanshark and gambling companies to advertise unabated before the 9pm watershed. The level of sex, violence and swearing on TV also remains unabated and is in evidence pre-watershed. Few vendors of cigarettes and alcohol are prosecuted for selling to the underage. As for the 'war' against drugs, that has become something of an unfunny joke. Ultraviolent computer games too, remain freely available for consumption by our youth, and have previously been linked to a number of violent crimes. All this, despite scientific proof that developing minds are more susceptible to influence as they are possessed of less life experience and context to process what they are being exposed to.
The Open Rights Group reports that websites of organisations promoting “esoteric practices” directly or indirectly have already been blocked on Orange pay-as-you-go mobiles.
Now you may not be an esoteric or alternative person yourself, but if you are not; in the spirit of Voltaire and his famed human rights declaration; 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.' please sign this petition
If that doesn't convince, there is always the famous second world war speech of German Pastor Martin Niemoller;
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.