NRB Concerned About New Media Speech Policies
Says it needs dialogue with media companies about potential religious censorship
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/15/2011 10:53:41 AM
According to an analysis released at a press conference in Washington Thursday and conducted by Craig Parshall, SVP and general counsel of NRB, "Christian ideas and other religious content face a clear and present danger of censorship on web-based communication platforms."
That was the conclusion of a study of iTunes App Store; Facebook; MySpace; Google; Twitter; and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. Of those, only Twitter would pass First Amendment muster if judged by traditional Supreme Court free speech principle, said the group. "All of the other new media platforms and service providers have written policies in place that violate fundamental rules of free expression, particularly as applied to religious free speech," it said.
NRB cites various policies against "undesirable content" and "hate speech," the latter which NRB calls "a dangerously undefined and politically correct term that is often applied in the culture to stifle Christian communicators."
The report says key issues are what it sees as: "(1) the past practices of anti-Christian censorship among some of these platforms; (2) free speech-inhibiting policies that facilitate censorship and which are already in place among almost all of the web-based communications companies reviewed here; (3) both market-driven and self-interest motivations for these companies to impose viewpoint censorship; and (4) the trend toward technological convergence of these platforms, which will further entrench their discriminatory practices and/or policies."
NRB said it is not looking for litigation, legislation or regulation, at least not at the outset. "The best course of action is for new media platforms to recognize that with the enormous economic benefits that they have realized with their innovations in communications technology, also comes a great responsibility to the American people to facilitate their freedom of expression."
NRB did not try to talk with the companies before releasing its report's concerns and allegations.
"After unveiling our report, we will be contacting each of the media entities mentioned in our report," said Parshall. "With the exception of Twitter -- we hope to dialogue with each of them (including the telecom Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Comcast, AT&T and Verizon) regarding the problems in their practices and/or policies that we identify in our report and encourage them to voluntarily take a position much more conducive to religious free speech."
NRB says it represents Christian radio and TV and networks; Christian webcasters, book publishers, churches, Christian relief and social service organizations and charities, public policy groups, public relations firms and marketers.
if the atheist can talk about how they view the world than Christians should also be able to voice their opinons. free speech is an american right whether i like what is said or not.
rose e tripp - 9/20/2011 1:29:44 PM EDT
This is a problem not only on the various internet sites, but in school as well. I am attending a local college and in the discussions, atheistic beliefs are encouraged by the class agenda, textbooks and instructors but espousing any Christian belief is prohibited which is akin to placing a gag in my mouth.
Violet Leigh - 9/19/2011 5:03:18 PM EDT
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matt. 5:11-12
Rosemary Schultz - 9/19/2011 1:09:11 PM EDT
I believe it. They not only censor Christians but I know of Jewish organizations that have been censored on Facebook, such as jidf.org.
I have been filtered on twitter along with other conservative, prolife,Christians in the past. Many are still filtered from twitter search now including myself. The way to test if you are being censored is, if you do a search for a specific user they will not show up in the search and you only see their tweets if you are following them already,go directly to their page or unless someone retweets them,otherwise they don't show up in search or hashtags.
It is very frustrating to continue a dialogue when you are being censored and your freedom of speech is being limited to only those who follow you and happen to see your tweets. I have also been blocked on Face-book. It tells me I have some kind of virus on my computer, which I don't,even after I have reinstalled windows on my computer and tried to login on different computers. In result,I had to create a whole new account. I hope google doesn't censor me next,since that is where my email and blog are hosted. It's sad that Christians and conservatives and other religious groups are being censored online, especially in the US where freedom of speech is a First Amendment right!
Patty - 9/17/2011 3:10:01 AM EDT
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