|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2016
WASHINGTON (NRB) – The National Religious Broadcasters today announced support for the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to defend vital liberty at the heart of the internet.
“Governments around the world are squashing internet freedom within their own borders, and a number have already made attempts to gain more power over the global internet through multinational bodies,” stated Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB. “We must be very careful not to allow such regimes to extend their influence over the very core of the internet.”
Currently, the Obama administration is reviewing a proposal to implement its planned transfer of authority over the internet’s basic domain name structure to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). However, there are concerns that this proposal creates new powers for governments – powers that could be misused by some state actors.
The Protecting Internet Freedom Act would prohibit the Executive Branch from allowing its oversight over basic internet domain functions, including the authoritative root zone file, to lapse or be relinquished unless specifically authorized to do so by an Act of Congress. It also will require certification that the U.S. has exclusive ownership and control over the vital .gov and .mil domains.
“While it is right to keep a careful eye on our own government, particularly in light of the FCC’s net neutrality power grab, the fact remains that the U.S. has for decades largely kept its hands off the development of the internet while ensuring that other nations did not hinder its organic growth,” added Dr. Johnson. “Less government involvement is generally in the best interests of free speech. But where governments are involved, we must insist on the principles and protections of America’s First Amendment. Senator Cruz’s legislation will ensure that the representatives of the American people in Congress are convinced of the airtight merits of any transition plan before it advances. There is only one shot to get such a move right.”
Earlier this year, the NRB Board of Directors, a body of approximately one hundred key leaders among Christian communicators, unanimously approved a resolution calling on the U.S. to ensure internet freedom globally. They noted that repressive regimes seek to curtail freedom online and specifically highlighted concern with the Obama administration's intention to transfer America’s supervisory authority over web domain names and addresses.
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth; to promote media excellence; and to defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Learn more at www.nrb.org.
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The annual NRB International Christian Media Convention is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assist those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic Exposition consists of around 200 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their organizations. The next Convention, Proclaim 17, will be held at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla., February 27-March 2, 2017. For more information, go to www.nrbconvention.org.
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