Free speech not guaranteed on 'public' Web sites
NEW YORK - Rant all you want in a public park. A police officer generally won't eject you for your remarks, however unpopular or provocative. Say it on the Internet, and you'll find that free speech and other constitutional rights are anything but guaranteed.
The main question here is what is the limit. A lot of Blogs I come across have rampant hate speech yet they are quite popular.
I have to agree with you Jb I have been to other forums where the hate for each other is very rampant and it is hard to say something civil without feeling like you pissed on someones favorite food. I think more needs to be done to reign in some of the speech on some forums.
Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
George Orwell - English novelist, essayist, and critic, 1903-1950
People believe that freedom of speech means that they can write or say anything they want to and believe that the constitution supports this. The constitution states that Congress will enact no law restricting freedom of speech. Congress doesn't enact these laws. Those laws are enacted by the Judicial and the Executive branches of government in the US. Here are a list of a few things that obstruct your freedoms to speech:
You cannot threaten another with bodily harm (that's assault).
You cannot scream out your windows after midnight (that's disturbing the peace).
You cannot discuss with friends how you will defraud a bank (that's conspiracy).
You cannot show adult material where children can see (that's exploitation, abuse...).
You cannot write your message on a public wall without permission (vandalism).
You cannot tell lies about another (libel and slander).
You cannot publish military or governmental secrets (treason).
You cannot speak of a subject if a judge has imposed a gag order (comtempt).
You cannot swear too much at a ball game (obscenity).
You cannot yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater (that's the crime of incitement).
You cannot engage in otherwise acceptable behavior on a discussion board (such as this) if the owner of the board prohibits it. Yes, JB can legally kick me off if I say something he "prohibits."
You cannot wear your own clothes in a school if a uniform is mandated.
You cannot give away your company's secrets.
You cannot insult your boss and not expect to be fired.
...the list goes on and on...
Are the above bad restrictions on freedom of speech?
Facebook just recently shut down a group called "Draw Mohammed Day". Was this a smart decision on the owners of Facebook? Well, since we have comic strip authors being killed for drawing a picture of the profit, I can see their reluctance to grant that "freedom", because the group founder certainly wont be willing to accept all the responsibilities and consequences that their "freedom" may bring. On this site, JB has gone to great efforts to spell out his limits of what would get you sensored. People do have some posts removed for violating the posting requirements. Some members are actually deactivated because they cannot follow the guidelines of posting. Isnt that a denial of freedom of speech? Yes it is...but it is a legal denial of free speech.
Illinois newspaper ordered to disclose commenter names:
The Tribune and other news organizations filed a "friend of the court" brief on the case last year arguing that "if the court does not affirm the procedural safeguards necessary to protect the First Amendment rights of anonymous speakers online, the public's access to news and information will be irreparably harmed." Ref. Source 8
Shutdown of Blogging Site Sparks Dispute
By STEVE LOHR
A free blogging site, [..], went dark less than two weeks ago, and its disappearance is stirring controversy about the obligations of Internet services and threats to free speech on the Web. Ref. Source 9