National Religious Broadcasters Promote New Media Speech Charter
Want social media and app sellers to limit their content restrictions to traditionally unprotected speech
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/18/2012 8:46:38 AM
"The free speech liberty of citizens who use the Internet is nearing a crisis point," says the charter. "New media companies who function as 'gatekeepers' to their Web platforms and devices...have consistently censored on their sites the speech of Christians and others when they communicate on issues of widespread public concern."
At a press conference to announce the charter last week, NRB President Dr. Frank Wright said that private enterprise is "now becoming an engine of constraining speech." Wright said the group was not looking to boycott anyone. Instead, he said, "the free marketplace of ideas will always serve a free republic best."
He said the charter was a framework for how to deal with speech issues in the digital age.
NRB has consistently expressed concerns about the suppression of speech in opposition to gay marriage or abortion as hate speech.
But while NRB said the government is sometimes guilty of trying to overregulate speech, it does not include indecency regs in that definition. The charter recommends Internet companies be free to impose the equivalent of broadcast indecency regs for content accessible to minors.
In September 2011, NRB said it needed to have a dialogue with new media companies about the potential for censorship of religious speech, but Wright said that hasn't happened and the situation has not improved.
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