IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Monday, October 16, 2006

National Freedom of Speech Week
(previous | next)

This week is National Freedom of Speech Week. It's good opportunity for those of us in America to remember how lucky we are to live in a country that respects freedom of the press and freedom of speech. After all, we could live in country like China, where dissent, press freedoms and online communications are frequently punished with penalties or prison time. (They even censor news coverage of disasters over there!)

Or consider Russia, where journalists live in fear for their lives for reporting the news, or where the state has continued its push to monopolize the media industry. For example, in July 2004, a state-controlled entity took over Russia's independent NTV television network and began canceling programs that were critical of the government, including, ironically, one talk show called "Freedom of Speech"!

Of course, there is still plenty of push-back against speech rights here in the USA. Over just the past few years, for example, we have witnessed a major government crack-down on "indecent" speech on broadcast TV or radio; a new push to expand indecency laws to cover cable and satellite TV; threats of wireless / mobile media regulation; a continued push for the regulation of video games; ongoing proposals to regulate Internet speech and online expression (including social networking sites); and stringent new campaign finance laws that grotesquely curtail political speech in the weeks before an election.

As I argue in every essay I pen responding to these proposals, what speech critics consistently fail to appreciate is that in a free society different people will have different values and tolerance levels when it comes to speech and media content. It would be a grave mistake, therefore, for government to impose the will of some on all. To protect the First Amendment and our heritage of freedom of speech and expression from government encroachment, editorial discretion over content should always remain housed in private, not public, hands.

However, there will always be those who respond by arguing that speech regulation is important because "it's for the children." (For example, just last week I responded in detail to Sen. Joe Lieberman's recent "for-the-children" manifesto). But raising children, and determining what they watch or listen to, is a quintessential parental responsibility. Moreover, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 68 percent of American homes do not have any children under 18 years of age in residence. Thus, government regulations that seek to regulate all content the name of protecting children will cast too wide a net by ensnaring many adult-only households.

Personally, I think the most important thing I can do for my children is to preserve our nation's free speech heritage and fight for their rights to enjoy the full benefits of the First Amendment when they become adults. Until then, I will focus on raising my children as best I can. And if because of the existence of the First Amendment they see or hear things I find troubling, offensive or rude, I will sit down with them and talk to them in the most open, understanding and loving fashion I can about the realities of the world around them.

I would hope that the critics of the First Amendment would do the same instead of seeking to undercut our nation's rich history of freedom of speech and expression. It is one of our Founders' enduring gifts to future generations and a precious freedom worth fighting for.

Happy Freedom of Speech Week everyone !

posted by Adam Thierer @ 12:00 PM | Free Speech

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly


This situation I recently ran into may interest you.
It's about me being censored.
If there is anything I won't stand for it's being silenced for expressing an opinion.
Check this page on my blog

Posted by: Sal at October 16, 2006 8:34 PM

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation