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NRB Leaders, Panelists to Address Clash of Fundamental Rights

John Milton Project logoOn Wednesday, September 12, NRB will be unveiling a new initiative from its John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech that aims to solve the issue of viewpoint censorship by new media companies.

At the heart of the initiative will be the Free Speech Charter for the Internet, a first-of-its-kind proposal that will be made public at the September 12 event. The charter will present new media companies including Facebook, Google and Apple a way to solve the current and potential clash of fundamental rights on the Internet.

“First, there are the rights of citizen users of the Internet who are having their otherwise lawful communications censored by new media tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. Then there are the equally important free enterprise rights of those new media giants to make their own corporate decisions and to create their own policies,” explains Craig Parshall, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at NRB and Director of the John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech.

“How to balance those competing interests is the all-important question, and I think our discussion on September 12 will be the launch of a tremendously important dialogue,” he adds.

Following the unveiling of the Free Speech Charter for the Internet, a panel of experts will examine the document and further discuss the issue. Among the participants will be Steven Waldman, Founder of BeliefNet.com and Senior Media Policy Scholar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Adam Thierer, Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center; and Colby May, Senior Counsel at the Washington, D.C., office of the American Center for Law & Justice.

Also offering remarks will be Dr. Frank Wright, NRB’s President & CEO, who describes the conflict between the free speech rights of citizen Internet users and the free market rights of new media companies as “one of the most important communications issues of our time.”

“This Free Speech Charter is a first-of-its kind manifesto, proposing a unique solution to the current clash,” he adds.

Members of the press and other attendees are strongly encouraged to RSVP to Erin Kube at ekube@nrb.org.

The event will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., at 2:30 p.m. on September 12. It will serve as a follow-up to last year’s release of True Liberty in a New Media Age, a groundbreaking report that documented examples of some censorious policies and practices of new media giants.

Published: September 6, 2012