Our friends at the Unofficial Coast Guard Blog and the Coast Guard Report break this story on the USCG’s plans to restrict the blogging activities of those who serve. They write:
Over at the Coast Guard Report, Thomas Jackson reports that one of his “on scene leaders” at headquarters has told him that a new media policy is in the works. Let’s hope Mr. Jackson is correct when he says, “At the end of the day I’m not sure Coasties need to worry about this just yet.” He notes,
Sadly we are told that the new policy will seek to restrict the First Amendment Rights of Coasties by limiting what they write in Blogs as well as what they can say in comments.
Perhaps by the time the ALCOAST hits the streets, any bold First Amendment restrictions will have been left aside in the re-writes.
I find it interesting that comments are something the Coast Guard is looking to squelch. Aside from the fact that comments are one of the key characteristics of blogs, comments are protected speech… and the publisher of the blog is not responsible for them. Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code (47 USC § 230) provides cover for blog publishers when it comes to comments. In short, blog publishers are not responsible for comments left by other people.
Here at gCaptain we love comments and some of the most consistently well written ones come from Coast Guard personnel at vastly different levels and on both the civilian and uniformed side. We hope this policy does not see the light of day.
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