/>
X
Business

Free speech, freely heard

What the Internet does, economically, is to eliminate the barrier to my being heard. I can now be heard as easily as David Broder. We're both using the same medium.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Many people fighting the net neutrality are having trouble with the issue.

The name is easily corrupted, and difficult to understand. This allows those opposed to net neutrality to create groups called, for instance, Hands off the Internet.

The issue is maintaining the status quo, in which you can reach any Web site you wish, without discrimination. But that's tough to explain.

What I've suggested is free speech, freely heard.

An end to net neutrality does not threaten free speech. What it threatens is erect a barrier to entry, between your high-bandwidth thoughts and those who might "read" them.

For 100 years we became accustomed to such barriers. Only those who owned newspapers or who got the attention of them could be heard in newspapers. Radio and TV stations were licensed, and they raised barriers to entry still further.

What the Internet does, economically, is to eliminate the barrier to my being heard. I can now be heard as easily as David Broder. We're both using the same medium.

It's when we get beyond words, to the equivalent of radio and TV, that the phone companies want the barriers to go up. Frankly, those who control our radio, TV and film media want those barriers raised as well.

And there is no First Amendment argument in their way. You have the freedom to speak, and publish. The Constitution did not contemplate equal rights for the distribution of all words.

But if Jefferson were blogging today, maybe it would.

Editorial standards