Innocence of Muslims Protests Spark Free Speech Debates

Free Speech ProtestsDays of violent protests from Asia to Africa against the U.S.-produced film Innocence of Muslims have fueled free speech debates across the nation.

Last week, Google rejected a request by the White House to reconsider its decision to keep the controversial YouTube movie clip online, saying that the video was within its guidelines. The move was welcomed by civil liberties groups and free speech advocates.

NRB, which recently released A Free Speech Charter for the Internet through its John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech, has also chimed in with its long-held view on new media censorship.

In an interview this week with The Associated Press, Craig Parshall, NRB’s Senior Vice President & General Counsel and Director of the John Milton Project, said videos like Innocence of Muslims shouldn't be banned from the Internet unless they openly call for violence.

“I don’t believe the video should be suppressed because some irresponsible group will take irresponsible violent action because of it,” he stated.

In an op-ed published this week, Dr. Frank Wright, NRB’s President & CEO, expressed similar sentiments, noting that “[a] free marketplace of ideas will always serve a free republic best.”

“Rather than emasculating free speech, efforts should be focused on barring the conduct of those persons who commit violence, mayhem and murder in response to ideas they either despise or believe,” he wrote.

With the issue now making headlines, NRB is hoping that new media giants like Google and Apple will consider the proposal laid out in the Free Speech Charter for the Internet.

Published: September 20, 2012