Sunday, February 11, 2007

Frightened Rabbit: Sing the Greys: Pitchfork Record Review

Frightened Rabbit: Sing the Greys: Pitchfork Record Review

The Ol' FR get a respectable review at Pitchfork, something thats not always easily achieved. Hooray for the Rabbit! Hooray for Glasgow!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The role of Governmental websites.

I have always thought that progressive, democratic societies are built upon fundamental ideas such as freedom of speech and the right to a decent education (amongst many others). Considering both of these points makes me think about the internet.

Everyone has the right to write anything they so wish (as I am doing right now) and publish this on the internet, a freedom of speech that is incredibly difficult to restrict. Educationly, the internet has also enlightened many, even with a crappy 28.8k connection one could imagine that access to material (granted some of dubious educational quality) never before available to some has improved vastly. Corporations, NGOs, Universities and National Governments have all used the internet to their advantage, to inform and to educate the general public in whatever way they wish.

There is the problem however of institutional bias. What an NGO and a Corporation say about the same situation could be hugely different. This, I think, is unavoidable and it is up to the reader to decide who they believe. However, should this be the case when it comes down to websites operated by national governments? Should spin be allowed? I think not. I think there is a responsibility on governments, as the bastions of progressive, democratic societies, to provide the 'decent education' as I mentioned above.

Which is why when I recently checked out the Government of Canada's official Climate Change website I was so sorely disappointed. To be fair, you can eventually get to some musings on climate change after following a bunch of links from one government department to anothers website. But I was honestly shocked that one could simply declare an issue as huge as Climate Change a closed book, one that this government has decided simply to not provide any easily accessible information on. Could you imagine if they decided to not provide any information on HIV/Aids or simply had a page for a website instructing the reader that the site is 'temporarily unavailable'?

Perhaps there is no responsibility on any government to provide free and accessible information on any issue. One could argue with the reams of information on everyone elses website that this would be pointless. Perhaps that is what institutions like the UN are for, but at least, if you have an official page on an issue, maybe it should have a link to that institution?

It's a thinker...