E-Commerce Times Talkback
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A storm building around a 15-minute online Dutch film critical of the Quran is emblematic not only of the growing ability of cyber forces to banish divergent views -- but also, more specifically, the utter unwillingness of domain name registrars to stand firm against those viral tides of protest. One of them, Network Solutions, has temporarily suspended a site on which a Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders had planned to air his film.
I'm no Constitutional Law expert, but that only supports my assertion that there's a simple truth about freedom of speech that most people don't understand. The right to free speech means the GOVERNMENT isn't allowed to stop anyone from expressing their views; in actuality, the fact that a public outcry can silence unpopular voices is exactly what freedom of speech is all about. The framers of the Constitution (the USA version, at least), depended on the principle that only if everyone is allowed to air their views in the "marketplace of ideas" will the people have the opportunity to develop fair and informed opinions -- ie, to accept or reject any of the ideas in that marketplace. Thus, if a company refuses someone's business because it will anger a lot of people, then it's the angry majority's freedom of expression that has prevailed in the marketplace. That's exactly the way it's SUPPOSED to work. You wouldn't force a store to carry an inferior brand of product that it knows no one will buy. The marketplace of ideas works exactly the same way.