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Blogging Free Speech and the Fairness Doctrine

bill of rights and constitutionAccording to FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell (FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content), there’s a danger that Congress bringing back the Fairness Doctrine would hurt bloggers by hindering their free speech rights.

In the current political climate, Democrats in Congress and presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama support bringing back the Fairness Doctrine as a means to neutralize the effectiveness of conservative talk radio. Regardless of the underlying political agenda or your personal political party affiliation, the Fairness Doctrine is a horrible idea for free speech rights.

If the doctrine is revived, imagine what it will do to the content of your blog because the government will have the right to decide whether you’re being fair to opposing viewpoints. You may be forced to permit guest bloggers (your competitors or opponents) to post content on your site that fundamentally disagrees with what you believe and even the purpose of your site.

What are the odds that the Fairness Doctrine can be revived? Very good under two different scenarios.

1. The Democrats win majorities in both houses of Congress and the presidency.

2. The Republicans win the presidency but the Democrats win majorities in both houses of Congress, including at least 60 seats in the Senate.

This means that if you oppose suppression of Internet free speech you can use your vote this fall to support politicians who oppose the Fairness Doctrine. If that fails, you can then contact your elected representatives beginning in January 2009 and let them know your opposition to the doctrine. Frame it as a matter of free speech instead of ideology.

As a final note, if this post was made with the Fairness Doctrine in place, there’s a good chance that I’d be forced to provide space on my site for views supporting the Fairness Doctrine. If you happen to support the doctrine, please blog about it on your site. That’s the free market solution to exchanging ideas.

And of course, feel free to leave comments.

Mike Young, Esq.

Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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