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Friday, March 11, 2005

Bloggers Left and Right Unite on Letter to FEC Seeking Exemption for Bloggers, Unpaid Political Speech on the Internet

A coalition of bloggers from both ends of the political spectrum have joined to combat efforts to put the FEC in the business of regulating political speech on the Internet. Their collective work comes under the umbrella of the Online Coalition. The web site should be up this morning and you should check it out ASAP.

The OC's first act is a joint letter to FEC Chairman Scott Thomas. Here is the heart of the letter's purpose:

"As bipartisan members of the online journalism, blogging, and advertising community, we ask that you grant blogs and online publications the same consideration and protection as broadcast media, newspapers, or periodicals by clearly including them under the Federal Election Commission’s “media exemption” rule.
"In order to ensure that there are sufficient measures taken, we also request that the FEC promulgate a rule exempting unpaid political activity on the Internet from regulation, thereby guaranteeing every American’s right to speak freely and participate in our democratic process.
"Finally, we ask that you clarify the rules and definitions related to “coordinated activity” to protect bloggers and journalists from running afoul of Commission rules regarding the republication of campaign materials."

Let's not stifle the right of any American to freely express his or her opinion about any public policy controversy or proposal. Protecting that right means keeping the FEC out of the business of regulating political speech on the Internet.