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There has been a lot of talk lately about whether blogs are going to be subject to stricter scrutity (read: censorship). Democratic lawmakers want to make sure what we say here stays attributed to us, rather than some campaign merely because we discuss politics. Kudos.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Internet bloggers should enjoy traditional press freedoms and not face regulation as political groups, lawmakers and online journalists said Friday.

In separate letters, Democratic lawmakers and Internet commentators urged the Federal Election Commission to make sure that political Web sites that serve as focal points for political discussion, like and, don't have to comply with campaign-finance rules.

"Curtailing blogs and other online publications will dampen the impact of new voices in the political process and will do a disservice to the millions of voters who rely on the Web for original, insightful political commentary," said the Online Coalition, a group of bloggers and online activists.

Fourteen members of the House of Representatives said blogs foster a welcome diversity of viewpoints.

"This 'democratization' of the media is a welcome development in this era of media consolidation and a corresponding lack of diversity of views in traditional media outlets," said the group, which consists of thirteen Democrats and one Republican.

The FEC ruled in 2002 that Internet activities do not count as "coordinated political activity" and thus don't have to comply with laws that regulate money in politics.

But a U.S. judge struck down that ruling as too broad last year, and the FEC is scheduled to consider it later this month.

If the FEC determines that online "blogs" are in fact political organizations, they could face fines if they work too closely with political campaigns by, for example, reprinting their press releases.

FEC spokesman Bob Biersack said the commission would try to craft its new rule as narrowly as possible.

"The Commission has tried very hard for a long time to be as limited in its regulation of Internet activity as it possibly could, so there's no reason to assume that that basic orientation doesn't continue," he said.
Via Higher Pie.


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