Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose

But freedom of speech seems to be another matter. At least on the NJ.com/Trenton forum.

Yes, this is the site that has been vilified by Trenton Police Director Santiago as a place where malcontents go to whine and cry about how unfair life is.

Yes, this is the site that has lead to a more than a couple of stories in the Times of Trenton and elsewhere.

Now, posting on the forum has not been high on the list of things to do. Reading it regularly is another thing.

Agree, disagree or just plain get turned off by a post, it was an generally interesting and often informative niche on the web.

The fact that NJ.com and it's partners the Star Ledger and Times of Trenton seem to be willing to exercise their expressed right to control the content of the forum against any semblance of free speech is upsetting. If these media outlets are willing to stifle discourse, how will they react (or have they reacted in the past) to efforts of others to control what they print?

I'm not only disheartened by this apparent lack of appreciation for freedom of speech. And, if has been suggested, it is merely to keep the lid on anything controversial as Trenton prepares for a visit by the US Conference of Mayors (you know, that lobbying group from Washington DC that has erroneously anointed Doug Palmer their leader), then it's really wrong.

No one is saying that everything printed on "the forum" was right, truthful or pertinent. But we're adults here and if you don't like what you are reading...don't go to the website! If the Star Ledger, Times and NJ.com are yielding to pressure from the Palmer administration or anyone else to censor the forum in this manner, they should be deeply embarrassed.

In the meantime, free speech has moved to Trenton Speaks. Check it out and catch up with those that have been unceremoniously booted from the forum.

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