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The Internet has emerged as a dynamic new communications medium at an astounding pace in recent years It enables the exchange of text sound video and images between millions of individuals from all around the world in a manner not possible via traditional media But along with the growth of these services and the benefits they can provide for enhanced communication entertainment and educational services concerns have been raised around the world about the content of these services The nature of these concerns often reflects the different cultural religious and political values of the international community The paper outlines the preliminary findings of a pilot study presently carried out by ABA It considers the issues related to the content of online services the impact of recent technical developments such as Platform for Content Selection PICS and content labeling It compares regulatory responses in four countries and identifies areas of potential international cooperation 1 Introduction The Internet is a dynamic new communications medium which has emerged at an astounding pace in recent years The Internet is one of many on-line services which offers a revolutionary means by which individuals and organisations can communicate entertain educate and inform There is no central control or ownership of the Internet and the functions performed by the participants in the on-line environment are not as fixed as in existing media publications and broadcasting models Most significantly a person from anywhere around the globe can create content and make it available on-line The Internet has enormous potential as a means to enhance the diversity of information and entertainment available to individuals and corporations around the world Its relatively low barriers to entry which are identical for both speakers and listeners provides access to all who wish to participate in the medium and even creates a relative parity among speakers It has been described as the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed However along with
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