First Amendment, Defending a Free Press · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Uncategorized

Support the Student Press Law Center, Which Fights for the First Amendment Rights of Journalists In High School and College

Support the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), which fights for the First Amendment rights of journalists in high school and college.


Good journalists don’t come from nowhere. They have to learn their craft, and many start with their high school or college papers.


Unfortunately, these young journalists face barriers that adult journalists face far less often–outright censorship from school staff, pressure to change stories, retaliatory budget cuts, and the like.


The SPLC is the only nonprofit that defends the free press rights of journalists in high school and college. It fields more than 2,000 inquiries on its legal advice hotline every year. It also advocates for open campus government, defends online speech, and encourages civic participation. It provides its legal services to students for free.


With the uptick in student walkouts and protests, which began rising after the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement, the intensity surrounding the plight of the Dreamers, and demands for common-sense gun laws after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, student journalists will be under more pressure and more in need of help.


The actions of the Trump administration has shown why good journalism is vital to a healthy democracy. We need to support tomorrow’s journalists as well as today’s.



See the SPLC webpage:



See its ‘Covering Walk-outs and Protests’ page:



Request legal help from the SPLC:



Become an attorney volunteer for the SPLC:



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Call Your Members of Congress · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

Defend Net Neutrality and Keep the Internet a Level Playing Field for All

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

Call your members of Congress and tell them to fight any Republican and Trumpian efforts to dismantle net neutrality, which ensures that the Internet remains freely open to all, regardless of how much money you have or the type of content you produce.

Tech types, free speech advocates, and others have long defended net neutrality, a bundle of concepts that together ensures that the Internet is freer and fairer for all by requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all content equally.

For example, net neutrality policies ensure that rich companies cannot pay extra to have their sites load faster than their less wealthy challengers in the marketplace. It also prevents ISPs from deliberately slowing down the load times of sites by content providers who compete with them.

Defenders of net neutrality had successfully fought off many attempts to destroy it, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had favored it under Obama. Unfortunately (and I’m sure you’re so surprised) Trump appointed Ajit Pai, one of net neutrality’s keenest enemies, to head the FCC. One of the first things Pai did was prevent nine companies from offering discount high-speed internet service to poor people.

The Trump administration has also announced that net neutrality is officially in its sights. (Scroll down for a NYT story on this and for other background pieces on net neutrality.)

Incidentally, this is a different issue from that affected by H.J. Res 86, which takes away Internet privacy protections from consumers. They’re only related in the sense that Republicans and Trump are favoring the wishes of companies over the needs of ordinary people.

The Republicans and Trump will have a harder time trying to dismantle net neutrality. Apple and Google have been active defenders, as have entities such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). In other words, there’s greater awareness of the need for net neutrality and its champions have more experience with fending off attacks. But we need to come to their aid now.

If we don’t, the Internet will go from a level playing field to one that favors wealthy, well-known companies over under-funded upstarts.

Important: Before you call, check the site below. (You might need to scroll down a bit). It will show you how all your members of Congress stand on net neutrality–in favor, undecided, or against. Learn where they stand, then add a line at the end of this script thanking them for standing up, urging them to defend net neutrality, or asking them to change their minds.


Sample script: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, state). I am calling to ask Senator/House Rep. (Lastname) to do everything possible to defend the notion of net neutrality from those who want to destroy it. If net neutrality goes away, it will create two Internets–one for the well-connected and wealthy, and a slower, shabbier version for everyone else. Please stand up and reject any attempts to wreck net neutrality, whether it comes from Ajit Pai, head of the FCC, or your Congressional colleagues, or Trump. Thank you.”




Read how the Trump administration plans to target net neutrality soon:

Read about how Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is against net neutrality:

More about what the loss of net neutrality means, and why big Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook, Apple, etc., should be up to defend it:


And more, from the same source, on how to defend net neutrality. Short answer: “Raise hell.”:


Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

Join the Day of Action for Net Neutrality on July 12

Join the Day of Action for Net Neutrality, a protest and awareness-raising event set for July 12.

A metric crapload of entities are coming together to raise the alarm over the need to defend net neutrality, a fight that OTYCD has written about before. If net neutrality goes away, the Internet will no longer be a level playing field. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) could charge more for faster service. The vibrancy of the medium would suffer a body blow, and corporations would gain more leverage over what you see and how quickly you get to see it.

The link below gives you tools to join the Internet-wide day of action to stand up for net neutrality. You can change your online avatar to a spinning wheel ‘o loading. You can display an alert on your site that will let your online audience contact the FCC and Congress. It also offers a video bumper that explains what net neutrality is and why we need to fight for it.


See the Day of Action for Net Neutrality site here:


Here also is the main web site for the entity leading the protest, the Battle for the Net, which is a joint effort of Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Freepress Action Fund: