The mechanisms of self-censorship inherent in actually existing precarious journalism and setting the boundaries of its freedom of expression are characterized by angst and subservience to the establishment. Dissenters are stigmatized, denounced and finally excluded from public perception. There is consensus over what transgression is – to protect one’s good connections, the seat at the table of the elites, and the significance of one’s own work. The accuracy of the published point of view is often less important than the absolute conservation of entrenched narratives.
The Streisand effect
The so-called Streisand effect describes a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide a piece of information from the public has the consequence of causing buzz on the internet.
The phenomenon has its origin in a lawsuit by the singer Barbara Streisand. The cause was an aerial photo of her house at the Californian coast. Before the lawsuit was filed and published, nobody had presumed a connection between the aerial photo of the house and the well-known singer. But after the news became public knowledge on Barbara’s instigation, the defendant’s website drew traffic from a large number of people who wanted to take a look at Streisand’s real estate.
Therefore, the attempt to suppress an unpopular piece of information can have the opposite effect, and unintendedly make this information accessible to more people than one would like. Particularly in times of orchestrated defamation campaigns on the internet, this risk should necessarily be considered.
Since the foundation of the Ständige Publikumskonferenz [„Permanent conference of the audience“ – an organization with the aim to promote democratic participation in the control mechanism of the German public broadcasting authorities] the author of this piece has become the subject of discussion of various website operators who have specialized in the observation and evaluation of initiatives, private individuals and authors diverging from the mainstream. Of course, there were occasional hints from friends or other benevolent people about activities of the guardians of the common published opinion – but to date the anonymous stir was met relatively painless and the related content has not actively been read or even searched for. Anyway, given the poor page views of certain websites it seems only appropriate that only 170 people talk about the copied and fantasized balderdash than 17.000.