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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Kentucky's Selective Blog Ban Challenged in Court

Danny Glover at Beltway Blogroll has details on the suit filed by Kentucky blogger Mark Nickolas, whose Bluegrass Report blog is being filtered out of internet connections used by state employees in state offices.

The suit was filed on Nickolas' behalf by the Kentucky branch of Ralph Nader's Public Citizen. Nickolas is a former aide to a key rival of Gov. Ernie Fletcher. The suit challenges a new policy that allows selectively censors materials available to state employees via the Internet.

Glover notes that the policy also marks a divide between traditional journalism and that of the Internet:

"The case is the latest in a string of controversies to draw attention to distinctions being made between old media and new, with Nickolas arguing that such distinctions are unwarranted and not made on a content-neutral basis. 'The state has not provided any rational basis for distinguishing mainstream media websites such as newspaper and magazine sites from independent news sites that the state characterizes as blogs,' the complaint said."

It should also be noted that there is no discernible difference between the Kentucky policy and that of the Communist regime in China except the scope of the censorship being conducted by state authorities.

This case bears watching because if Kentucky is successful in defending the policy, it almost certainly would encourage other entities at all levels of government to follow suit.