Tuesday, October 10, 2006
La. ethics board to address blogs
Bloggers are wary of censorship
by Nathan Trifone
The Louisiana Board of Ethics will meet Thursday and Friday as part of their regular meetings to discuss the possible regulation of political weblogs and ad placement.
Lee Kelley, who works with Hardcopy, said weblogs are important, especially in Louisiana because of the well-known corruption. "Political blogs allow people to remain anonymous and get opinions and ideas out there," Kelley said. "When [blogs] are used to generate conversation and get people thinking, I think they are a wonderful thing, and they should not be up to the government to censor."
Emily Metzgar, Manship doctorate student, political communication instructor and blogger, said blogs are an important tool used by people to share their opinions. "[Blogs] provide information and analysis that previously hasn't been widely available in Louisiana," Metzgar said. "I wish the ethics board the best of luck in trying to overturn the First Amendment without stirring up a blog swarm that garners national attention."
The Daily Kos, one of the most trafficked national blogs according to Metzgar, has already picked up on the issue. In a front page post on the blog, writers of the blog said, "Hopefully, sane heads on the panel, if they exist, prevail."
Metzgar said this is just the latest example of politicians not wanting to take responsibility for their actions."If that weren't so consistent with elected officials' obvious squirmishness at the possibility of being held accountable, this development would be funny," Metzgar said.
State Ethics Laws Do Not Cover Political Blogs
BY JOHN HILL
BATON ROUGE – Louisiana political bloggers and Web site operators stirred today, alarmed by an item on the agenda of the state Ethics Board's meeting Thursday that they say would lead to a discussion about regulation and political ad placements on the sites.
But Ethics Board staff members say there’s nothing in state law that could be construed as regulating a Web site, so there will be little discussion.
the Ethics Board's top staff attorney says. “Setting aside the obvious First Amendment issues, there is nothing in the ethics laws that would enable the board to take any action or render any service whatsoever,” said Gray Sexton, executive director of the Ethics Administration.
The bloggers still reacted.
“The fact that this matter even found its way onto the agenda of the Heh, Heh, Heh, Ethics Board is more evidence of the joke that is the board,” blogger C.B. Forgotston of Hammond writes. “This whole thing smacks of efforts to intimated the citizens of Louisiana.”
The Ethics Board agenda item “is just the latest example of how the status quo appears mighty uncomfortable with the possibility that their voting records and other behavior relevant to their public service might be coming under closer scrutiny than it has in the past,” Emily Metzgar of Shreveport said.
LINK TO FULL STORY:
THE DEAD PELICAN
C.B. FORGOTSTON TO MOON GRIFFON "I felt like we were in the Old Soviet Union... blogs are not in the jurisdiction of the ethics board... this is a first amendment right.... why is the ethics commission wasting their time with this? Why did they put blogs on the agenda on the first place?"
NEW POLL QUESTION:
SHOULD LOUISIANA REGULATE IT'S BLOGGERS?
TO CAST YOUR VOTE:
TO CONTACT THE ETHICS BOARD:
Phone (225)763-8777 or 1(800)842-6630