Journalism Education Association Statement for the
"Indecency on the Internet" Hearing

H. L. Hall
314-213-6100 x. 1415

February 10, 1998

The Journalism Education Association (JEA) opposes Sen. John McCain's plan to require schools receiving FCC Internet subsidies to limit student access to "indecent material."

At its meeting in St. Louis in November 1997, JEA adopted a statement concerning freedoms that JEA believes the Internet is a forum for open, diverse and unimpeded expression, and it strongly opposes the use of filters or blocking software that interferes with the legitimate gathering or authoring of information protected by the First Amendment and recent Supreme Court decisions. All current blocking and filtering software consistently has been shown to restrain more than unprotected speech, taking from educators valid educational decision-making and often giving it to unknown parties with unknown rationale.

JEA recommends that communications teachers assist administrators, parents, students and others in their understanding of the importance of free expression on the Internet, and it urges teachers, advisers and students to be fully informed of their rights in the use of the Internet, websites and acceptable use policies.

Communication teachers and advisers should be the leaders in the shaping of Internet policies at their schools. Such decisions should not be legislated.

All schools should have access to the Internet, and federal monies to assure that access should not be allotted based on whether or not students are allowed to view "indecent" material.


H. L. Hall
JEA President


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