From “left” to “right,” a group of bipartisan bloggers, journalists, activists and professionals (iincluding yours truly) announced today the formation of The Online Coalition – www.onlinecoalition.com – to voice our concerns about the potential impact the Federal Election Commission’s upcoming rulemaking process may have on political communication on the Internet.
As part of our efforts, The Online Coalition today presented FEC Chairman Scott E. Thomas with an open letter detailing our concerns following Thomas’ keynote address at the “Politics Online” conference hosted by The George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Technology, and the Internet.
The letter includes three requests of the Commission:
Grant blogs and online publications the same consideration and protection as broadcast media, newspapers, or periodicals by clearly including them under the Federal Election Commission’s “media exemption” rule.
Promulgate a rule exempting unpaid political activity on the Internet from regulation, thereby insuring every American’s right to speak freely and participate in our democratic process.
Clarify the rules and definitions related to “coordinated activity” to protect bloggers and journalists from running afoul of Commission rules regarding the republication of campaign materials.”If the 2004 election cycle taught us anything, it’s that bloggers and online journalists made a real difference in educating and informing voters,” said Michael Bassik, Democratic online media consultant and member of the Online Coalition. “The FEC should provide those of us in the online universe with the same protections that citizens and journalists enjoy elsewhere.”
Mike Krempasky, co-author of the letter and founder of RedState.org noted, “Online political activism is a vital part of American civic life. We urge the FEC to continue writing rules that support the Internet, not rules that stifle free speech or grassroots activities online.”
The letter was signed by a bi-partisan group of bloggers, journalists, and professionals from every political background. They are:
Morra Aarons – Kerry-Edwards 2004, Jerome Armstrong – MyDD, Kevin Aylward – Wizbang, Michael Bassik – MSHC Partners, Peter Daou – Daou Report, R. Rebecca Donatelli – Campaign Solutions, John Durham – Pericles Consulting, Patrick Hynes – Ankle Biting Pundits, Clay Johnson – Blue State Digital, Michael Krempasky – RedState.org, Michelle Malkin – Syndicated Columnist/Author, Kevin McCullough – The Kevin McCullough Show, Nicco Mele – EchoDitto, Ed Morrissey – Captain’s Quarters, Markos Moulitsas – Daily Kos, Chuck Muth – Citizen Outreach, Brian Reich – CampaignWebReview, Micah Sifry – Personal Democracy Forum, Dan Solomon – Mindshare Interactive, Matthew Stoller – Blogging of the President, Mark Tapscott – Heritage Foundation Center for Media & Public Policy.
If you’re a member of the blogging and online journalism community, we urge you to add your signature to the letter at www.onlinecoalition.com.