Hey, You Can't Post There!

Posted: Jul 08, 2008 12:47 PM
A rule is making its way through Congress that will have a huge impact on our freedom of speech. This rule would prohibit Americans from getting information from their Members of Congress – about what they are doing in Washington, what they are saying, and what they are proposing – on websites that are not “approved” by the Committee on House Administration, the panel that creates rules governing the internal operations of the U.S. House.

This rule affects all of us regardless of political affiliation.

What this essentially means is that sites like YouTube that Members use to communicate with constituents would have to make their way through a complicated, arcane, and restrictive set of House regulations before Members could post videos on them. Under the proposal, the House Administration Committee would develop a list of “approved” websites, and Members of Congress could post content to only those websites.

This proposed rule could mean the end of blogs like this one that have become a real forum for conversation.

The rule has been proposed by the Democrat Chairman of the Commission on Mailing Standards, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), and is being considered for adoption by the Committee on House Administration, chaired by Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA).

Read Rep. Capuano's letter to Chairman Brady.

If this rule is adopted, the free flow of information from Members to constituents and vice versa would be significantly stunted. Essentially, a panel of federal employees that are not neutral or independent would say what messages and formats are fit and unfit for circulation.

This rule accomplishes nothing except increased censorship of free speech.