Contact: Kenneth Chan, National Religious Broadcasters, 703-331-4520, firstname.lastname@example.org
MANASSAS, Va., Sept. 11, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), America's preeminent association of Christian broadcasters and communicators, will be unveiling a solution to the current and potential clash between free speech on the Internet and the free market power of new media giants like Apple, Google and Facebook to block viewpoints with which they don't agree.
At 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12, NRB will present its first-of-its-kind Free Speech Charter for the Internet, detailing what new media companies can do to respect free speech and how and why they should do it in accord with historic free speech principles.
The charter is 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, including Apple's infamous removal of the Manhattan Declaration and Exodus International apps from its iTunes App Store. Both faith-based apps were labeled by protesters as "anti-gay" and potentially "harmful" or "hateful," though their creators and supporters have insisted otherwise.
"The free speech liberty of citizens who use the Internet is nearing a crisis point," says Craig Parshall, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at NRB and Director of the John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech.
"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, and in turn, generations to come will be the beneficiaries of expressive liberty in our digital age. 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," 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. Mr. Parshall will be moderating the panel discussion, which will feature the following participants:
- 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;
- Colby May, Senior Counsel at the Washington, DC, office of the American Center for Law & Justice; and
- Brian Walsh, Director of the American Religious Freedom Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
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.
The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session led by Aaron Mercer, NRB's Vice President of Government Relations.
Members of the press and other attendees are strongly encouraged to RSVP to Erin Kube at email@example.com. The event will be held in the First Amendment Lounge at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a non-partisan, 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.