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The medium is not the message

Posted in Media by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on July 28, 2008

The case involving Google and Italian prosecutors is a complex one and I wasn’t originally going to post about it here as I don’t believe it is an issue that is specifically about Down’s syndrome. However, given all the fuss I had to eventually throw in my two penn’orth.

The details are as follows: “Italian prosecutors have indicated that they will press charges against four Google executives over a video which was posted on one of the search giant’s Italian sites in 2006, which showed four youths making fun of a disabled teenager in a classroom in the northern city of Turin.”

Here’s my take:

The Italian Down’s syndrome advocacy group was right to raise the issue of bullying in the first place and it is good that “the four youths who filmed the incident are also reported to have faced criminal prosecution”.

The fact that “Google is understood to have removed the clip from the Google Video site within hours of administrators being notified of its existence in September, 2006” means that, with regards to Google’s involvement, the matter should probably have been left there.

Google Video is not a regulated medium and is guaranteed to include content that someone, somewhere would find offensive. Google cannot be expected to decide what is offensive and what isn’t (if it did people would be up in arms) but should be judged by how it responds when it receives a complaint. If the company had refused to remove the clip that would be a different story.

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One Response

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  1. […] The court case against four Google executives for allowing a video of a boy with Down’s syndrome being bullied to be posted on its Italian Google Video site has been delayed until later in the month. I;ve previously posted my thoughts on the matter here. […]


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