Private Newspapers and a State-Run Printing Press
Usually one needs a hypothetical to make a point this clearly and strongly.
Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Newspaper, the privately-owned newspaper of the nation’s former ruling party, has found itself completely out of luck today when they found out that the printing press, owned by the Egyptian government (now a military junta after yesterday’s coup) is no longer available for use.
Even a nominally free press cannot be one if the government owns the printing press. And while that may sound ridiculously low-tech to us these days, lets not forget the US government’s efforts to gain more and more official control over the Internet, nominally for national security reasons.
The Internet is increasingly ubiquitous in our lives, and it serves as a lot of things including, obviously, a printing press. Giving the US government, or indeed any government, serious control over the Internet means we no longer own the printing press, and our ideas never need to be officially censored at all, just kept quietly off the presses.