Thursday, June 02, 2005

Time for action to protect your free speech rights as a blogger ...

Yes, McCain-Feingold has now reached the vast expanse of free speech known as the internet. The deadline snuck up on me, but the Federal Election Commission deadline for comments on their proposed rules regulating political speech via blogs is 6/3 ... that means the time for action is now.

You can make your thoughts known via email to internet@fec.gov. Make sure you identify yourself and include a snail mail address, or your comments will not be considered. Be respectful and address the substance of the proposed regulations.

Many thanks to Redstate for leading this charge. Check out their advice for communicating with the FEC. Also, a fine example of a very detailed approach to the proposed rules can be found here.

And ...

Here is the substance of my email to the FEC:
Re: comments on Notice 2005-10: Internet Comunications

Mr. Deutsch,

I would like to provide my comments regarding the proposed rules affecting internet communications.

I have several concerns in particular with the proposed rules: 1)internet political commentary/news should be treated the same as other "media", regardless of press bona fides; 2) protection for internet political speech should not be limited because the computer/software used is not the individual's or a public facility; and 3) group internet postings/group web logs (blogs) not be treated differently
than individual blogs.

In sum, I believe passionately in the free exchange of ideas, and I also believe that the proliferation political blogs has greatly enhanced the free flow of ideas of all political persuasions. As a result, all Americans have benefited.

I also am a blogger, and I have concerns going forward that the proposed regulations may be interpreted in such a way as to hinder my ability to communicate ideas to my friends and the visitors to my blog.

Like many people, I get the majority of my news and commentary over the internet. Much of this information is supplied by people who some in the mainstream press would say do not possess the media "bona fides" to be disseminating such information. Yes, most of the information and commentary that I review on a daily basis comes from other bloggers. And, as some one with a journalism degree and
background myself, I have found that I have far greater access to news and views from all persuasions than I did before the rise of the internet.

I also hope to be able to participate in the upcoming election campaigns in 2006 and 2008. To the extent that I choose to advocate the election of a particular candidate(s), this should in my view be no different than if I wrote letters to my readers. The only difference now is that I have a printing press on my desk, so that I can send my letters to my readers and many others, at much less cost.

This technological changed requires that we view the rise of the new media as just that -- new media. And this new media, of which I am a part, should have the same protections as the old media -- those found in the First Amendment.
So, there you have it. Frankly, I think it's a shame indeed that we have to petition our government to make sure we don't lose the unfettered ability to comment on the issues of our day.

And for those of you wondering why I feel as passionately as I do about Sen. McCain's candidacy for the WH ... his opponents' successful candidacy, that is ... this issue is as near and dear to my heart as any. We have him to thank for this madness.

So, I encourage your involvement. What will you do to protect your rights as an American?

Update/reminder: My first post incorrectly had the email as internet-at-fCC.gov. Should be internet@fec.gov. Now, go defend freedom.

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