News - June 1996

GLAAD condemns AFA censorship campaign

LOS ANGELES, CA -- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) denounces the apparent censorship campaign being launched by the American Family Association (AFA). Targeting online service provider CompuServe, Inc., the AFA has urged the FBI to expedite charges of violating the Communication Decency Act (CDA), a provision in the recently passed Telecommunications Bill that criminalizes the posting of "indecent" material on the Internet.

The enforcement of the Communications Decency Act has been suspended for the time being pending the ruling of a three judge panel on the Act's constitutionality. If enforced, the vague wording in the CDA can potentially affect posting information about abortion, AIDS, sex education and the gay and lesbian community.

"The American Family Association has taken such an active role in trying to censor the Internet," said Loren R. Javier, Director of Information Systems, "The Internet contains a variety of information and viewpoints. The AFA is using bullying tactics to ensure that only their viewpoint remains."

CompuServe was recently criticized by GLAAD for removing 200 newsgroups from their service in response to an order by a German official to close those with "offensive" words, including "gay," "lesbian" and "homosexual." Since that time, CompuServe has reinstated these newsgroups and opted to offer CyberPatrol, an Internet filtering software, as its parental controls. GLAAD has been working with CyberPatrol to ensure fair representation of the gay and lesbian community.

"The gay and lesbian community has already felt the effects of online censorship," continued Javier, "The Internet is such an important communication device for our community, we must remain ever vigilant in ensuring our fair representation."

GLAAD is a national organization that promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

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