From firstname.lastname@example.org Sat Feb 3 09:27:20 PST 1996 Article: 22527 of alt.revisionism Path: nizkor.almanac.bc.ca!news.island.net!news.bctel.net!imci2!news.internetMCI.com!newsfeed.internetmci.com!swrinde!elroy.jpl.nasa.gov!lll-winken.llnl.gov!enews.sgi.com!news.igc.apc.org!cdp!jcostello From: James Costello
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: Wiesenthal Center Statement Message-ID: Date: Fri, 02 Feb 1996 22:55:41 -0800 (PST) X-Gateway: email@example.com Lines: 70 Simon Wiesenthal Center News Release NEWS RELEASE January 12, 1996 Wiesenthal Center Calls on Internet Providers To Adopt Voluntary Standard of Ethics In the wake of the growing number of organized hate groups espousing racism, antisemitism, violence and mayhem on the World Wide Web, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has called upon companies providing Internet hosting services to adopt voluntary acceptable-use guidelines that would terminate services to individuals or groups promoting an agenda of hate or violence. According to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Center, "Like the rest of America we welcome the Internet for its vast democratizing potential, but these groups have adopted the Internet as their key marketing tool in promoting hate." Last week the Center, the largest member-based Jewish human rights organization with 425,000 members world-wide, began mailing letters to hundreds of Internet hosting and information providers in the United States, requesting that they adopt acceptable-use standards similar to those used by other media providers, and offering the Center's assistance in drafting such a code. "Over the last year the Internet, and specifically the World Wide Web, has moved from being a niche medium with a small audience, to a mass medium of unrivaled power that is leading the way in media convergence," said Cooper. "As this new and exciting industry has grown up almost overnight, the rapid pace of growth has meant that providers have been largely preoccupied with technical implementation and have had little time to devote to the issue of ethics. Now that the Internet has become a significant medium for publishing, broadcasting and advertising, it is important that these questions be addressed." The Simon Wiesenthal Center has been monitoring hate groups for more than fifteen years. "We correctly label these groups the lunatic fringe," said Cooper, "but it is a mistake to think they lack sophistication. They have embraced this technology more quickly than any other group of society and the tremendous power of the Internet has allowed them to distribute more of their violent, racist material in a single year than in the entire post-war period combined "There is no doubt that much of this speech is protected in the United States by the First Amendment, and clearly our government does not have a role in prohibiting its use," said Cooper. "And it is important to emphasize that we are not asking Internet access providers to block or prohibit their customers from accessing such materials, or to limit private e-mail or participation in usenet groups established to discuss these issues." According to Cooper, "Radio and television executives and newspaper editors have long understood that the First Amendment protects our citizenry from interference by the government, but does not obligate media channels to publish or distribute, unfiltered, materials they consider false, inflammatory, hateful and unfair. In this regard, the media has played an important role in marginalizing bigotry and hatred in the United States, and it is the Wiesenthal Center's position that such a role is essential for the Internet and World Wide Web community, as well." "We are under no illusion that adopting such acceptable-use standards will keep these groups from promulgating their message of hate across the Internet. We are simply asking those who are in the business of selling Internet presence and information services, to do the right thing, and tell these groups to take their money elsewhere," said Cooper. Copyright ) 1995, The Simon Wiesenthal Center 9760 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90035
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