Thursday, May 20, 2010

Political Blogs May Be Regulated By The FEC

Filed as News on May 20, 2010 9:27 pm
by Darnell Clayton

It look like American bloggers could face a new threat that may make people think twice before criticizing their political leaders online.

Apparently the US government thinks bloggers are becoming a public hazard, and like a few other industries (i.e. airplanes, banks and nuclear power plants) need to be regulated by the government (in this case the Federal Election Commission).

The Obama administration has announced plans to regulate the Internet through the Federal Communications Commission, extending its authority over broadband providers to police web traffic, enforcing “net neutrality.”

Last week, a congressional hearing exposed an effort to give another agency—the Federal Election Commission—unprecedented power to regulate political speech online. At a House Administration Committee hearing last Tuesday, Patton Boggs attorney William McGinley explained that the sloppy statutory language in the “DISCLOSE Act” would extend the FEC’s control over broadcast communications to all “covered communications,” including the blogosphere. (

This law would probably extend to Twitter as well, not to mention Facebook too (the latter who is embroiled in another censorship case via Pakistan).

Although this law (or measure) will probably be struck down by the US Supreme Court (who seems to love the first amendment aka “freedom of speech” for you non-yanks), the fact that the US government would even consider this is troublesome.

Unless the government is dealing with slander, a terrorist threat or a pay per post scandal they shouldn’t bother regulating the blogosphere as that could result in a political backlash (not to mention provide an incentive to host ones content over seas).

Hopefully common sense prevails regarding this issue, as the last thing bloggers need is to worry about is regulation from “Uncle Sam.”

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