National Review: The Coming Speech Wars Online (In the News)

National Review: The Coming Speech Wars Online

By Paul H. Jossey

Cyberspace has also reduced the relevance of government censors who oversee old-style political communications. But it also raises questions about whether the new boss, Silicon Valley tech giants, will be worse than the old. As political speech evolves, new threats emerge as old ones cling to power. The fight for free political speech isn’t over, but it has changed, and we must remain vigilant lest our freedom slip…

The Internet is an incredible human achievement. It has done more to ensure freedom and human rights than any government agency ever could. But such freedom is insecure when would-be censors exist either inside or outside government. We can guard against them by ensuring that government policy and technological processes preserve the right to speak, offend, ridicule, hate, or lie without sanction. Congress should codify Internet freedom – as in many important respects it already did when it passed the Communications Decency Act in 1996 – by amending the FEC’s enabling statute. Further rulemaking on the scope of the Internet exemption granted by the FEC would reduce the power of recalcitrant agencies to ignore it.