Bloggers Unite to Promote Online Freedom of Speech Act

Bloggers from both sides of the political aisle have joined forces to push the Online Freedom of Speech Act (H.R. 1606) through Congress.

A bipartisan letter urging members of Congress to vote in favor of passing the bill was sent off this morning. The letter was authored by Michael Krempasky of RedState.com and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of DailyKos.com.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

H.R. 1606 would preserve the status quo which governed the 2004 election cycle and beyond, one in which a vibrant blogosphere empowered millions of citizens to influence national politics, leveling the effect of wealth on the electoral process, and without any of the corruption which its opponents now fear. Its passage would send a strong message to the Federal Election Commission to tread lightly when it comes to the Internet, telling it that Congress does not wish to stifle online citizen participation in the political process.

Published reports indicate that, as of February 2006, there are over 14 million weblogs, with approximately 75,000 new blogs are created every day, about one every second. The blogosphere is over 60 times bigger than it was only 3 years ago. With the blogosphere continuing to double in size about every five-and-a-half months, it is simply not possible for any person or entity, no matter how wealthy they may be or how much money they can spend, to dominate or corrupt online political discourse.

For the full text, click here.

As noted in my previous post, the bill was due to be marked up today and should be ready for voting as early as next week. Rep. Jack Kingston (R.-Ga.) has joined the conversation on RedState.com, providing a rundown of the ongoing process and voicing his suport:

Today in our Theme Team meeting with Al Hubbard, House Administration Chairman Vern Ehlers (R-MI), had to leave the meeting a few minutes early to begin marking up HR 1606 – the Online Freedom of Speech Act.

The bill has already been on the floor once, where it achieved a bipartisan majority, but fell short of the two-thirds needed to pass under suspension of House rules. Also, next week the FEC will release its decision on how campaign finance rules will apply online.

But since then, I have noticed more Members paying attention to the blogs and the blogosphere which should help build even more momentum for this bill and hopefully push it over the top.

As I’ve said before, the Internet – especially blogs – has helped promote grassroots political involvement across the country by giving Joe or Jane Citizen their own bully pulpit to discuss and debate the topics of the day. Today your neighbor is more likely to ask you if you saw something on the web than whether you read it in a newspaper.

We need to be encouraging, not discouraging, political involvement online and any FEC regulation could have a frightening effect on one of our most cherished rights – freedom of speech.

It is important that RedState continue to educate Members of Congress on this important issue. We must ensure that free speech remains, well, free.

I look forward to working with you to see this through to the end.

Jack

Thanks, Congressman Kingston. I’m with you.


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