Jan 3, 2007

Regulation Threat Alarms Political Bloggers

by Michelle Chen
Mar. 10, 2006 – The realm of electronic communication has given millions of Americans a cheap but sturdy pulpit from which to criticize, praise and debate just about anyone and everything. But as a boon for the campaigns of political candidates, weblogs and websites have raised concern among legislators and advocates for tighter campaign-finance rules
Activists seeking to protect the online "marketplace of ideas" clash with reform groups wary that the web is becoming a platform for big-money digital electioneering.
The Online Freedom of Speech Act, introduced by Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and slated to go before the House of Representatives next week, would essentially exempt the entire Internet from federal campaign-finance regulations.
The blanket exemption has alarmed public-interest groups fearing that websites, mass e-mail and blogs could become major vehicles for campaign spending the offline forms of which would be illegal.

The blogging community, however, has demanded a hands-off approach from government, viewing regulation as an encumbrance to robust political discourse

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