Remember the 1st Amendment's importance

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

Justin Trudeau (Canadian leader)With the Canadian version of the Federal Communications Commission wanting to regulate social media accounts that have become too big and influential, a media watchdog says Americans need to understand why their First Amendment rights are so important.

Bill C-10 in the Great White North recognizes social media accounts with millions of followers as broadcasters. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission aims to make sure Canadian broadcast channels remain Canadian, saying a certain amount of programming must originate in Canada and be subject to Canada's rather expansive hate speech laws.

Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center (MRC) says that could pose a problem for individual Canadians who are popular on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.

"No place else on earth has those freedoms," he notes about the First Amendment. "So when the United States, under Joe Biden, signs on to the Christchurch Agreement … which is a way of restricting online speech, this is why it's so important. The rest of the world doesn't believe in free speech, doesn't believe in the freedoms we have."

The Christchurch Agreement is named after the city in New Zealand where a white supremacist who was radicalized online gunned down 51 people in a Mosque. It places restrictions on Internet postings that some say violate the First Amendment. Though 18 governments and eight tech companies initially signed on to the voluntary agreement to "eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online" and were later joined by 31 more countries, the U.S. was not among them. The Trump administration at the time issued a statement supporting "the overarching message," but did not endorse or sign the non-binding agreement because of constitutional qualms. 

Gainor

"White House officials said free-speech concerns prevented them from formally signing onto the largest campaign to date targeting extremism online," reported The Washington Post.

Now, with more and more democratic governments cracking down on free speech, Gainor says the push is coming America's way.

"If the nations that we generally assume to be sane and rational – New Zealand, Australia, Britain, and Canada -- … if they are all restricting speech, we really need to pay attention to it, because that means there's an international push against the American definition of free speech," he warns.

"Americans need to understand … when we fight for our First Amendment rights, particularly freedom of religion or freedom of speech or freedom of the press, why this is so important," Gainor concludes.

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