The first three stories I read in the news this morning were all I suddenly realised about censorship:
-China campaign cuts entertainment TV by two-thirds: the government says there are too many Western values seeping into Chinese TV.
-Belarus puts restrictions on foreign internet sites: a new law will restrict access to foreign websites, force users to only shop through domestic websites and force internet clubs and cafes to report users visiting sites registered abroad.
-Anti-internet piracy law adopted by Spanish government: following the US's tougher measures on internet piracy the Spanish government is implenting new laws critics say infringe on freedom of expression.
This could be but the beginning with many key dramas likely to be played out this year:
-With Spain and the US adopting tough measures on piracy it's likely others will follow, bringing a debte that's been raging for years to a head.
-Hactivist groups such as Anonymous will have to work hard to evade the police nets closing in on them, but also to gain the level of media attention they did before - this year could prove their most decisive or their undoing.
-The future of Wikileaks is irrevocably entwined with that of Julain Assange, who's awaiting the outcome of his appeal at the Supreme Court. Should Assange go on to lose everything then Wikileaks will lose its funding and completely collapse.
-Protest movements at home such as Occupy will face deciding moments, such as whether the Occupy camp will be removed from the steps of Saint Pauls.
-Protest movements abroad are likely to face criticism as further bloodshed follows. Questions will likely arise as to whether the turmoil of an indifferent unstable democracy is better than a dictatorship friendly with the West.
-The question of greater internet regulation will continue to be debated in the US...we may see some surprising measures announced in order to counter the recent rise of hactivism and leaks.
-And of course the Leveson Inquiry is to reach its conclusion, with important consequences for the future of the media and press censorship in Britain.
2012 looks set to be an important year.