Lunaya Pravda

09 June 2006

Political speech or political advertising?

So where is the line between political speech and political advertising? This pretty much sums up why it's nearly impossible to make that distinction, and makes a mockery of campaign finance reform by pointing out how dangerous it is to First Amendment freedoms of speech and press.

Talk-radio case heard by state high court

But the Institute for Justice argues that, by defining radio talk as campaign contributions, Wickham imposed de facto limits on how much the hosts could say on the air. That's because, under state law, initiative campaigns are barred from accepting donations larger than $5,000 during the final 21 days before an election.

Though Wickham's initial ruling only required disclosure of the KVI hosts' "contributions" during the signature-gathering phase, the I-912 campaign went beyond that. To make a point, any time a media outlet did stories or editorials about the initiative, the campaign assigned dollar values to the news items and listed them as contributors.

And where do political blogs fall in this spectrum? If I were to have written almost exclusively about this initiative, would my time then be accountable as a campaign donation? These questions shouldn't need to be asked, but in today's climate, we can no longer take for granted that court rulings will side with inalienable rights.

Make no mistake, political dissent is just one of the major freedoms targeted for destruction, but I see it in the broader context of an effort to sever and control the flow of information. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Orwell's 1984 knows how critical the flow of information is to any government that wants to retain power over its citizens.

The hood of information deprivation is sliding ever further down over our eyes. Lately I'm beginning to wonder if there ever was a time when liberty WASN'T under assault.