United States

UNITED STATES WHEREAS the Internet, World Wide Web and online services are becoming an important means by which newspapers disseminate information and commentary to the public the laws governing these new, interactive media will profoundly influence the availability, quality and independence of the news reports online services can provide the people an open forum in which they can freely exchange their views in a way that freedom of expression is meant to encourage the Senate has passed a bill providing for fines and imprisonment for individuals who make "filthy or indecent" material available online in such a way that it is available to minors, even though such material is not considered obscene under the definition of the Supreme Court and therefore is protected by the right of free speech, and the House of Representative is considering similar legislation one court has held that a publisher of an online service is liable for defamation damages caused by a remark posted online by a customer THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to call upon the legislature and courts of the United States and other Western Hemisphere nations to recognize that electronic online interactive services should be protected by the constitutional right of free speech in the same way newspapers are protected to insist that any restriction on "filthy or indecent" speech designed to protect minors not restrict the ability of adults to express themselves to other adults to demand that the law allow publishers and online service operators to devote part of their service to open forums in which they will not be held responsible, in defamation suits or otherwise, for the things expressed by others.