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Digital Sketches

digital citizen media, ict with a focus on Central Asia and the Middle East.

Vrij Nederland, a prominent Dutch opinion magazine, published an interview with Jeroen van de Wiel. (16 Febr. 2007) This heavy Google user claims to be a Google watcher. He did built, for example, a ‘Google Startpagina’. Contrary to the people behind googlewatch.org, Van de Wiel is not a conspiracy thinker. He rather sticks to the facts, he says.

In the interview Van de Wiel minimized issues like censorship and privacy. Issues that were heavily debated when Google entered the Chinese market in 2005 and seemed to contradict its credo ‘Don’t be evil’. Did the interviewer know of this ‘China syndrome’, as David Vise named it in his book The Google Story?

The interview closes with: `Ach, er zijn meer regeringen die filteren welke informatie via internet beschikbaar is. (..) Maar dat kan je Google toch niet kwalijk nemen? Google is alleen doorgeefluik van meningen. Het heeft zelf geen mening’. So he concludes with stating Google only transfers opinions, it has no opinion of its own.

To end an interview with a statement like this, is lazy journalism. It really is a pity that a critical magazine like Vrij Nederland can not report in a better informed way about internet, a medium hardly to be called new anymore.

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