Last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., NRB unveiled A Free Speech Charter for the Internet, a first-of-its-kind proposal to address the tension between the values of free speech and free enterprise in the online world. Specifically, the charter encourages new media giants like Apple, Google and Facebook not to block viewpoints with which they don’t agree, but to voluntarily adopt historic and well-understood First Amendment free speech principles.
Craig Parshall, NRB Senior Vice President & General Counsel, who spearheaded this work as part of NRB’s John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech, declared, “If the standards we propose here are voluntarily adopted at this critical time, we believe that a truly free marketplace of ideas will flourish on the Internet…. If not, however, then we foresee a tyranny over ideas developing over web-based platforms, and a whole class of citizens of faith and others being shut out of this new electronic town square.”
The NRB John Milton Project is a pioneering endeavor to monitor and address threats of anti-Christian censorship and other free speech violations on the Internet by government or corporate entities. The Free Speech Charter for the Internet follows up on the John Milton Project’s True Liberty in a New Media Age report last year that documented examples of some censorious policies and practices of new media giants, including Apple’s infamous removal of the Manhattan Declaration from its App Store.
PHOTO ABOVE: L-R Craig Parshall, NRB Senior Vice President & General Counsel and Director of the John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech; Steven Waldman, Founder of BeliefNet.com and Senior Media Policy Scholar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Colby May, Senior Counsel at the Washington, DC, office of the American Center for Law & Justice; Adam Thierer, Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center; and Brian W. Walsh, Executive Director of the American Religious Freedom Program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations
Published: September 21, 2012