Democrats on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) are planning to introduce new regulations regarding political content on the internet, in order to kill free speech and political dissent. The decision of intent, which was announced late Friday, came about after an anti-Obama video posted to Youtube raised the ire of Democrats who found themselves powerless to stifle it as it was not a paid-for political ad, which would have brought it under existing FEC regulations.
Political content and advocacy posted free on the internet is not currently regulated by the FEC. Ann M. Ravel, who is a Obama-appointed Democrat and Vice Chair of the commission, is pushing to introduce regulations that will, effectively, govern all political materials on the internet. “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long over due,” Ravel says.
The three Republicans on the six-member commission — including Chairman Lee E. Goodman, are resisting the call for more regulation. They argue that, if regulation is extended to cover even unpaid political advertising, then blogs, politically active news websites and all other politically-motivated speech on the web will be curtailed. “This freedom has gained wide acceptance, as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of political videos, websites, blogs and other social media…” the three wrote in a dissenting statement. ” They added that the shift in policy suggested by Ravel and supported by the other Democrats on the commission “could threaten the continued development of the Internet’s virtual free marketplace of political ideas and democratic debate.”
Speaking to Fox News, Goodman said “I have been warning that my Democratic colleagues were moving to regulate media generally and the Internet specifically for almost a year now.” Ravel is due to take over the FEC Chair next year.
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