By CATHY ANN SCHMIT
Although “fade to black” has spread all across the nation as a protest to the Communications Decency Act provision of the Telecommunications Bill, BYU students have chosen to not participate, said Brent Harker, director of Public Communications.
“Fade to black” is a protest where organizations, businesses and all others who have a Web page can blacken their page to demonstrate their disagreement of the provision.
“We believe current laws on free expression and free speech can be applied to the Internet. These laws are strong enough to protect the interests of American families and that special legislation for the Internet is not needed,” Alan Meckler, chairman and CEO of Mecklermedia Corporation, said.
BYU students did not participate because BYU is a private organization and has taken steps to screen material, said Allen W. Palmer of the communications department.
BYU does not advocate actions like “fade to black”; the university is for regulation and censorship pertaining to obscenity and indecent material, Harker said.
Organizations throughout the country have signed on and blackened their screen; a few of those are Center for Public Representation, Internet World, Electronic Privacy Information Center and People for the American Way which were taken off Netscape’s Yahoo page.
Those involved in the black-out said the bill violates the 1st Amendment, reduces competition and offers few protections to prevent communications corporations from abusing individuals’ basic civil rights, like privacy.
Andrew Kantor, Internet World senior editor, said he does not like the provision; “it makes the United States one of the most restrictive nations in the world in terms of freedom of expression. Is this what America is all about?”
Mecklermedia said they are happy about their participation in the black-out. “The CDA attempts to repeal our Constitutional right to free speech and free press on the Internet,” said Triston Louis, publisher of Mecklermedia’s iWORLD Web site.