Showing posts with label censorship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label censorship. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2019

Grand Canyon University Should Let Ben Shapiro Speak

Last Friday, I received an Email from the school news regarding the school's decision to cancel an upcoming speaking engagement by Ben Shapiro. The rationale for canceling his appointment is to focus on opportunities that bring people together. It's not quite clear what they mean. The email goes on to list all of school's philanthropic causes and mentions campus diversity in passing, but never gives a substantial concrete reason for uninviting Ben Shapiro. The statement makes it clear that he was invited to address a specific student club, not the entire student body, so the reason why they think he should be bringing people together is beyond me. I'm not too familiar with Ben Shapiro. All I know is that he is a prominent conservative figure associated with the online anti-SJW movement and is often featured in click bait compilation videos dedicated to destroying libtards with facts and logic. While I recognize that as a private christian university, they have the right to not invite or ban any speaker they want, they should be considerate of their students' desire to listen to and discuss new ideas and opinions regardless of their popularity. Besides, we can only grow intellectually, and spiritually, by challenging old dogmas with ideas and information we have not yet considered. I attend GCU online and live on the other side of the country, so this recent turn of events is not personally relevant to me; however, for those student who live on campus or in the Phoenix metro area, the school should seriously consider their mission statement, which last time I checked, was about preparing students to become 'global citizens', critical thinkers, 'effective communicators, and responsible leaders. You can't do any of that living in your own echo chamber. Do the right thing; let the man speak.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

U.S. District Judge Rules Twitter is a Public Forum Setting New Precedent for Free Speech and Censorship

Sources: Duke Chronicle, Cornell Law Dictionary

Last year, several twitter critics of the sitting President sued Trump for blocking them and won. U.S. District judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, of the Southern district of New York, ruled that Trump had violated the plaintiffs' first amendment rights by excluding them from voicing their opinion on a 'public forum.'

We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account—the 'interactive space' where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets—are properly analyzed under the 'public forum' doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court, that such space is a designated public forum, and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.

This ruling should have wider implications than preventing Trump from blocking prominent twitter critics like Dr. Eugene Gu, who filed the lawsuit. Besides, Trump isn't the only politician that uses twitter to communicate with his constituents. Almost every representative, senator, justice and bureaucrat uses twitter to get their message out. In this sense, the 'private' social media platform could be considered a designated public forum for political discourse, and therefore should be open to all viewpoints. Unfortunately, there is no legal definition for online public forums. The Supreme Court outlined 3 types of public forums in the 1983 case of Perry Education Association v. Perry Local Educators' Association and all of them are defined in terms of physical space and restrict government officials from discriminating against certain viewpoints rather than public corporations like Twitter and Facebook. This could be a major problem when it comes to twitter itself banning or suspending certain users for unpopular political opinions or selectively enforcing their nebulous terms of service. Twitter's discriminatory actions keep people form engaging with their elected representatives all the same as being directly blocked by their elected representatives; the only difference is that the censorship is done by a corporation rather than a government agency or official. However, as I pointed out in a previous post, corporations are established by governments for the benefit of the public, and have no right to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion or any other protected class. It's only logical to add political affiliation and viewpoint, especially given the pertinence of twitter and other big social media platforms in our day and age.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Corporations Have No Right To Discriminate

Corporations are the greatest threat to freedom of speech. This is a very succinct video from the Ghettoman. I've been following his work since December when he joined Steemit (he has since left) and he doesn't seem to have taken off yet, so I do whatever I can to promote him and his work. The issue at stake here is whether corporations, specifically social media companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have a right to discriminate on the basis of political views, that is, to treat political views differently by, for instance, enforcing terms of service selectively and defining political views they disagree with as hate speech, which isn't a legal term. I say they don't based on previous civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination on other protected bases, like religion, and the fact that these conglomerates have a virtual monopoly on online political content, which is where the vast majority of people congregate nowadays. Furthermore, as the Ghettoman points out, corporations are charted by the state for the benefit of the public, which includes everyone on the political spectrum. And as I pointed out earlier they have a virtual monopoly on online political content making their bias against certain political views no different from censorship in practice. Social media platforms should therefore be considered public forums.