Internet Interview: "Cyber-Censorship: What the 'Bleep' is Going On?"

March 20, 1996 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Internet Interview: “Cyber-Censorship: What the ‘Bleep’ is Going On?”

The Night Before the Decency Act Lawsuit Begins, Linda Ellerbee Talks With Reverend Jerry Falwell, Representative Pat Schroeder, Donna Rice Hughes, John Perry Barlow, Nadine Strossen, and You to Question Who Should Control What We See, Hear and Read

“Cybercensorship: What the ‘Bleep’ is Going On?” is the topic of the second “ENCARTA ON THE RECORD,” the new Internet interview show and cyber forum hosted by Linda Ellerbee, being presented tonight.

This timely and electrifying discussion takes place on the eve before a lawsuit begins filed by a coalition of civil liberties groups to defeat the controversial Communications Decency Act of President Clinton’s recently signed Telecommunications Reform Bill, which, critics charge, violates the First Amendment.

Exploring the issue for the first time together on ENCARTA ON THE RECORD are:

Reverend Jerry Falwell, founder of the group Moral Majority and a proponent of “traditional family” values;

Representative Pat Schroeder (D-Colorado) who believes that there should be some regulation about what children have access to, recently filed legislation that would repeal the part of the Decency Act that restricts the dissemination of information about abortion;

Donna Rice Hughes, of the “Enough is Enough!” campaign which is against censorship but aims to reduce illegal pornography on the Internet and elsewhere;

Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union, the organization spearheading the lawsuit against the Act;

John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, promoters of freedom of expression in digital media.

“The issue of cyber censorship is highly charged. There’s no simple solution for how we can best protect younger generations and at the same time protect the First Amendment rights awarded by the Constitution,” said Linda Ellerbee.

Ellerbee will ask her guests, the wired world and the live audience to go “on the record” about the pros and cons of cyber censorship and probe such questions as:

Is any attempt to control the Internet an assault on our freedom of speech?

How do we regulate what comes in from other countries?

Can the new technology really be controlled?

Is it time to take another look at restrictions on all media?

What is the role of each cybercitizen in using the net?

Is it the government or parents who should control what their children see and hear?

Even before the show begins, Internet users can weigh in on the debate about cybercensorship at the ENCARTA ON THE RECORD web site at by posting questions and comments and responding to this month’s poll. The site will give participants access to myriad materials including a written point-of-view piece by this month’s guests, background articles from Encarta Encyclopedia, Encarta Yearbook Builder, and hot-links to other web sites. In the media gallery of the site there can also be found the opinions of other influentials — Wired editor Kevin Kelley, German Embassy press attache Ekkehard Brose, Resistance Records founder George Burdi, and actor Ed Asner among them — who have gone “on the record” with their opinions about the current debate.

“The show will put a rich repository of background information immediately at users’ fingertips, enabling participants to understand the events taking place in the world today from a broader context. It allows each person to make the news event or contemporary issue being discussed totally relevant to them in a way that is truly unique to each person,” says Ann Fenner, managing editor, Encarta Encyclopedia.

How it Works

At 9:00 p.m. EST on the night of the show, a 30-minute warm-up discussion will allow users on the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia web site as well as the live audience at New York City’s @Cafe to ask questions, post comments on this month’s question and participate in a poll.

At 9:30 p.m. EST, ENCARTA ON THE RECORD will “log on live.” Following the live discussion, a full transcript from the show including, audio, photos and audience poll results will be posted on the Internet site, along with the background information sources.

Microsoft Encarta is known as the leading and award-winning interactive, multimedia encyclopedia. It is backed by a 25 person editorial staff of researchers, editors and writers. ENCARTA ON THE RECORD is an extension of Encarta Encyclopedia’s new Yearbook Builder, an exciting new feature that lets users download monthly articles from the World Wide Web (WWW) and MSN, The Microsoft Network, and link them to Encarta Encyclopedia’s core CD-ROM content. At least one feature article, often written by an authority on the subject, and approximately 40 updates are provided per month, as well as maps, photos and illustrations.

The program will be produced using Gateway 2000 computers and Progressive Network’s Real Audio.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for businesses and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in Privacy & Technology

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Privacy & Technology

Privacy and Technology issue image

The ACLU works to expand the right to privacy, increase the control individuals have over their personal information, and ensure civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by technological innovation.