Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

Bloggers Beware!

Will bloggers have to check with a federal agency before they go online? If an upcoming vote in Congress fails, they just might...

When Congress passed McCain-Feingold in 2002, it opened the door to seriously undermining the principles of free speech and association. Now, the regulations that have already been applied to TV and radio may soon extend to the Internet as the FEC begins the process of applying campaign finance law to the blogosphere. In an effort to protect bloggers, the House Administration Committee unanimously reported the Online Freedom of Speech Act (HR 1606) to the House floor. Although a vote was expected today, the bill failed to make it to the floor and will be rescheduled for after recess.

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Nevertheless, in 2003, five Supreme Court Justices ruled that reducing the “appearance of a corrupting influence” of political contributions was more important than deference to the Constitution.

In 2002, the FEC voted to exempt the Internet from regulations under McCain-Feingold, but a U.S. District Judge overturned that decision last fall, claiming that excluding the Internet from the coordinated communications regulation would severely undermine the law. Now the FEC is under a court order to finalize rules that would apply McCain-Feingold to the Internet. They were expected to announce these regulations next week, but may wait on the 1606 decision.

As blogs have increased in popularity, millions of Americas go online everyday to express their political view-points, challenge the media’s depiction of certain issues and engage in open debate – blurring the distinctions between bloggers and journalists. This is good for democracy. Given how widespread the use of blogs and other online forums have become, regulations on Internet speech would be especially burdensome. Imposing restrictions on Internet communications would not only undermine the First Amendment, it would deal a huge blow to grass roots advocacy.

If Congress fails to act and the FEC is forced to regulate Internet communications, bloggers could face many obstacles to exercising free speech. Any activity that involves advocating for a political candidate including linking a home page to a politician’s website, reiterating or reproducing a portion of a candidate’s campaign material, or emailing information in support of a political candidate around election time could put a blogger in jeopardy of violating federal election laws.

Let's hope those voting have more sense than those on the Supreme Court who upheld this horrible bill in the first place.

Comments:
Good grief, the McCain-Feingold law is one of the most ridiculous laws ever passed. I can't believe it hasn't been declared unconstitutional yet.
 
We need somethinbg though I understand your point about free speech but where how do we create somekind of community standards ?

Political blogs are one thing, but we also have blogs run by Cannibals, Pornographers , Racists this without limit total free speech is a new thing for this country, its always been a liberal thing and now for some reason people seem to think its a central to our constitution that we allow everything without any limit. I dont get it why are conservatives advocating liberal policies ?

Go to google search, click on preferences, scroll down to filters and turn all filters off, save, then search beastality blog . Any kid can do this and we allow this into our communities and homes? Why do we fear regulating the internet to maintain some level of community standards. People throw up their arms when Janet Jackson shows her tits at the Superbowl but argue against censorship of another electronic medium.

Your fight against censorship is destroying community standards and it will eventually destroy America.
 
There will always be some controls on things that can be on the internet, but less regulation is better than more. Political free speech must be allowed unless it is advocating armed rebellion, and that is one of the standards that has stood the test of time. No doubt the Google org that runs blogger is run by Hippies, and I agree there is some stuff that should be more regulated, but I'd still rather see less than more censorship.
 
Essentially I think your right we need to balance both and lean on the freedom foot a bit more then the censorship foot , but its a delicate balance. Where we are atr the moment is in no mands land we dont trust ourselves enough to regulate to a free speech intent so we revert to foundation that does not reflect American values.

We need to some how get closer to both and have the confidence to do so.
 
Well, I think we need a little of both. I sure don't want no regulations. There's some nasty stuff out there. There need to be regulations, but I think there needs to be balance, though.
 
This is what I mean by some controls. This is a cult leader who I have an axe to grind with its slightly different than the topic under discussion but its an example of that liberal mind . This guy is a shame non profit and is racking in the millions without paying a cent of tax


http://whatenlightenment.blogspot.com/2006/03/call-to-action-and-letter-_114339576930182147.html#comments
 
to update, the FEC has now excluded blogs from regulation under McCain-Feingold. We're still working on seeing if there are any other repurcussions that would affect bloggers/online pundits. Even so, I think this all does raise important issues about free speech... and it's still my hope that BCRA is eventually wiped out.
 
Hey, Pissed off old man- check out my blog and enjoy some free speech in action there. If speech wasn't free, just as many of your conservative buddies would be gagged. MWA-HA!
 
Dear me, next you won't be able to say what flavour Ben & Jerry's you like. (Shame you're not a few 100 miles nearer or I'd invite you out to share some.)
 
The blogosphere is presenting all kinds of new challenges for those trying to set the 'parameters' of free speech. It's hard for me to imagine any really impacting legislation being passed though, since this is the U.S., not China... The resulting firestorm would be huge.
 
Hi Nunzia,
You have right minded political blog? How cool!

brother John
 
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