Thursday, June 02, 2005

Free speech for bloggers

Back last fall, a federal court judge decided that the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act some how needed to include the Internet as part of that regulation. The FEC has been ordered to apply this law to the Net. This could have the effect of ending the free political speech of bloggers. Why the FEC never appealed this ruling is beyond me. Both Senators McCain and Feingold are on the record as stating that their Bill was never intended to stiffle the free political speech of bloggers. Either the FEC needs to appeal this decision or Cogress needs to pass legislation exempting the Internet and specifically bloggers from the reach of McCain-Feingold. The Washington Times has some things to say on this in their editorial.

" The fallout from this regulatory nightmare would have what the CDT rightly calls a "chilling effect" on Internet free speech. In keeping with the judge's order, however, the FEC has to do something. It has asked for public comment on the proposed rules and e-mails that can be sent to until the deadline tomorrow.

Barring a reversal of the judicial ruling, the only alternative would have to come from Congress, where there are currently bills in both chambers to exempt the Internet from FEC regulations. We encourage lawmakers to support the bills so that Internet free speech can advance unimpeded."

Free political speech is one of the basic tenets of our Constitution. This attempt to regulate the blogosphere is an attempt to muzzle the free speech right of bloggers. If the Courts and the FEC attempted to do this to private citizens speaking out in the old Town Square on political issues, there would be a furor of unprecidented proportions. The ACLU would be beside itself filing lawsuits. So why is it permissible for the FEC to even attempt to regulate the free political speech of the blogosphere?

One thing I do know, if the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules. - Sailor

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