[WSIS CS-Plenary] Indymedia Update [en] : Why we have to
Mueller at syr.edu
Tue Oct 12 20:35:57 BST 2004
>>> president at isoc.ch 10/12/2004 6:01:11 AM >>>
>I'd like to conclude with a question: Can someone explain to me the
>difference between the fact that in the US Constitution: First
>freedom of speech is protecting websites which are promoting calls to
>hate - like Ku Klux Klan - and yet it seems not to protect the freedom
>speech of media?
Websites are "media." A Ku Klux Klan website is a "media outlet" just
as much as the Indymedia websites. According to our First Amendment,
which is supposed to restrict state action, both should have the same
freedom of expression.
However, if a Ku Klux Klan website was suspected of certain forms
of speech that could be considered "incitement" to violence or
of illegal action it could be closed down under US law. For example,
rightwing websites that seemed to be calling for the murder of doctors
performing abortions were restricted.
The First Amendment of course cannot guarantee
that governments won't restrict free expression; all it provides is a
legal redress if they do. I see that Indymedia is conferring with EFF.
But, keep in mind that the First Amendment may not be the applicable
here. The action seems to have been initiated by the *Italian* police,
who believe that *Italy* Indymedia may "support terrorism"
(according to the Indymedia website). So if you want a better answer
to your question, I would suggest that you look into the law governing
speech and terrorism in Italy. The UK, by the way, has even worse laws
regarding free speech than the U.S.
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