Tag Archives: Freedom of Speech

For-profit firm seeking to run .org names makes concessions


A private equity firm seeking to buy rights to operate the internet’s

A private equity firm seeking to buy rights to operate the internet’s .org suffix said Friday it will cap price hikes and create an advisory board with veto powers to ease concerns from the nonprofit community.

Ethos Capital has offered $1.1 billion to buy the Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit corporation that runs the databases containing more than 10 million .org names registered worldwide. Organizations ranging from the Girl Scouts of the USA and Consumer Reports to the American Bible Society have opposed the sale, warning of potential price gouging and censorship. California’s attorney general has also requested information to evaluate a deal’s potential impact to nonprofits.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the concessions are enough to satisfy critics. The cap on price hikes, for instance, will expire in eight years, and most of the advisory board’s initial members will be appointed by the Public Interest Registry’s board.

Domain names such as apnews.com have historically been used by computers to find websites and send email, and their value grew as companies and groups adopted them for branding. The Associated Press, a nonprofit, also uses a .org domain, ap.org.

Though domain names are less prominent these days as more people reach websites using search engines and apps, they are still important for email addresses, billboards and other non-digital advertising.

The Public Interest Registry is currently owned by the Internet Society, a nonprofit founded by many of the internet’s early engineers and scientists. In that role, the registry collects annual fees of about $10 per .org registration. The Internet Society uses some of that revenue to fund advocacy and administrative programs, which include creating technical standards for the internet.

A sale to Ethos Capital wouldn’t immediately affect existing .org names or the websites that use them. Although .org is often associated with nonprofit organizations, it can already by registered by anyone, including for-profit corporations and individuals. That won’t change if it gets a for-profit owner.

But some critics fear that future policies could reduce protections for domain name owners. For instance, websites can suddenly become unreachable if whoever owns the registry suspends a .org name at the urging of a government or business rival, without giving the website a chance to plead its case. Critics are particularly worried that authoritarian countries could target human rights groups and other nongovernmental organizations this way.

Critics are also worried that financial pressures on a for-profit company could result in price hikes.

To address concerns, Ethos agreed Friday to limit price hikes to an average of 10% per year for eight years. The Public Interest Registry had a binding 10% cap that expired in June, though that restriction wasn’t an average and didn’t allow for higher hikes in some years.

Ethos said it will also let an advisory body, known as a stewardship council, veto proposed modifications to registry policies on censorship, freedom of expression and use of .org registration and user data. The council won’t have any veto on price.

Ethos also said it expects the registry will contribute $10 million to a new fund to support unspecified initiatives benefiting .org registrants.

Ethos said it will make its promises binding by amending an agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Los Angeles-based organization that oversees domain names.

“We have been listening closely to stakeholder feedback – both positive and negative – and have been working diligently to address these specific issues head on,” said Erik Brooks, Ethos founder and chief executive. “We are taking these actions to show that we stand firmly behind the commitments we’ve made – and most importantly – behind the registrants and users.”

ICANN was expected to rule by mid-February on Ethos’ bid. But Ethos said the registry has granted the organization an extension to March 20.


AP Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun in New York contributed to this report.


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Newseum hailed free press, however acquired overwhelmed by free museums


It opened in 2008, simply in time for the financial recession that devastated American newspapers

In 2008, the Newseum — a personal museum devoted to exploring fashionable historical past as instructed by the eyes of journalists — opened on prime Washington actual property.

Sitting nearly equidistant between the White Home and the Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue, the glass-walled constructing turned immediately recognizable for its multi-story exterior rendition of the First Modification.

Eleven years later that experiment is coming to an finish. After years of economic difficulties, the Newseum will shut its doorways Tuesday.

“We’re happy with how we did our storytelling,” stated Sonya Gavankar, the outgoing director of public relations. “We modified the mannequin of how museums did their work.”

The constructing was offered for $372.5 million to Johns Hopkins College, which intends to consolidate its scattered Washington-based graduate research applications underneath one roof.

Gavankar attributed the failure to a “mosaic of things” however one in every of them was actually unlucky timing. The opening coincided with the 2008 financial recession, which hit newspapers notably onerous and triggered mass layoffs and closures throughout the trade.

She additionally acknowledged that the Newseum’s standing as a for-pay personal establishment was a more durable promote in a metropolis stuffed with free museums. A Newseum ticket prices $25 for adults, and the constructing is true throughout the road from the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork and inside blocks of a number of Smithsonian museums.

“Competing with free establishments in Washington was tough,” Gavankar stated.

One other downside, organizers stated, is that the Newseum struggled to draw native residents, as an alternative relying on a gradual weight loss plan of vacationers and native faculty teams. Precise Washington-area residents, who do frequent the Smithsonian and elsewhere, largely got here on faculty journeys and barely returned as adults.

Claire Myers matches that profile. The D.C. resident recollects coming to the Newseum in highschool in a senior-year class journey. She solely returned in late December for a last go to as a result of she heard it was closing on the finish of the yr.

“I do suppose a part of the rationale was as a result of it is a paid museum,” she stated. “Why exit of my means to do that after I may simply go to another free museum?”

The $25 price ticket, Myers stated, creates a strain to put aside the entire day and absorb each exhibit, whereas at one of many free Smithsonian museums, she is aware of she will be able to come again one other time to catch no matter she missed. However Myers stated she was deeply impressed by the reveals, notably the Newseum’s signature gallery of Pulitzer Prize-winning pictures.

“I do want it wasn’t going away,” she stated.

The museum’s focus developed through the years, showcasing not simply journalism and historic occasions, however all method of free speech and civil rights points and a few whimsical quirks alongside the perimeters. Displays through the Newseum’s last days included an exploration of the cultural and political affect of Jon Stewart and “The Each day Present,” a have a look at the historical past of the wrestle for LGBTQ rights and a show depicting the historical past of presidential canines.

Gavankar stated the Freedom Discussion board, which initially maintained the Newseum in northern Virginia for years, would proceed its mission in numerous types. The tutorial basis maintains a pair of reveals on the Berlin Wall in each Reagan and Dulles airports. Subsequent yr, these shows might be changed by reveals on the ladies’s suffrage motion. The present Rise Up! exhibit on LGBTQ rights will transfer to a brand new long-term residence within the Museum of Pop Tradition in Seattle.


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Mississippi metropolis tries to restrict noise close to abortion clinic


Noisy battle is widespread outdoors Mississippi’s solely abortion clinic, with protesters typically utilizing bullhorns to amplify their voices and the clinic itself blaring music to maintain sufferers from listening to the protesters.

Homeowners of close by companies say the commotion is a headache for his or her prospects who wish to take pleasure in a meal or purchase some garments.

In response, the Jackson Metropolis Council voted 3-1 Tuesday to enact an area legislation limiting amplified sound outdoors well being care services and creating buffer zones to maneuver protesters farther from the entrances. The legislation is ready to take impact in a couple of month, and opponents say it unconstitutionally limits their proper to free speech. A court docket problem is probably going.

The council vote got here days earlier than a federal appeals court docket was set to listen to arguments over a 2018 Mississippi legislation that may ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

Like many locations within the Deep South, Mississippi is a conservative state with a Republican-led Legislature that has been enacting legal guidelines to limit entry to abortion. Southern cities the place abortion clinics are positioned are typically extra socially and politically liberal. That’s the case in Jackson, the place most Metropolis Council members are Democrats.

However, throughout the Jackson debate, council members mentioned limiting noise and making a buffer zone is an try to assist sufferers and native companies relatively than to assist the clinic.

“This actually is about entry to well being care,” Council president Virgi Lindsay, a Democrat, mentioned after noting that individuals who spoke for the ordinance reside in Jackson whereas most of those that spoke towards it reside different locations.

The scene outdoors the brilliant pink clinic, Jackson Girls’s Well being Group, was comparatively quiet Wednesday, with out amplified sound.

One man, who’s an everyday there, held wood rosary beads and murmured prayers. Just a few women and men tried handy biblical tracts to folks as they drove into the clinic car parking zone. Three folks sporting rainbow-striped vests emblazoned with “Clinic Escort” took turns attempting to dam protesters’ view of the sufferers, and a few escorts walked with ladies from their vehicles to the clinic door.

As a car with a license plate from Newton County, Mississippi, drove into the car parking zone, Pastor David Lane referred to as out: “I do know some of us in Newton who will enable you to! I do know some of us in Newton who will undertake your child!”

“Oh, David, that’s sufficient,” clinic escort Derenda Hancock mentioned to him with exasperation.

Individuals from either side are outdoors the clinic so usually that most of the protesters and the volunteer clinic escorts know one another by identify.

The clinic is in Jackson’s eclectic Fondren neighborhood, a brief drive from the Capitol constructing the place legislators have enacted a number of abortion restrictions which were blocked by federal courts.

Throughout the road from the clinic, protesters typically stand outdoors eating places and a T-shirt store and maintain graphic posters of aborted fetuses. Hancock mentioned the ordinance received’t eliminate these photographs however may cut back the noise.

“Whether it is enforced the way in which it needs to be, it is going to enable the Jackson Girls’s Well being Group to be extra prefer it needs to be — a traditional well being clinic the place ladies can come and not less than have some dignity and a few privateness,” Hancock mentioned.

The Jackson ordinance prohibits folks from protesting inside 15 ft (5 meters) of any entrance to a well being care facility. It additionally says that inside 100 ft (30 meters) of the doorway of a well being care facility, every particular person has a “private bubble zone” of Eight ft (2 meters), and that until the particular person offers permission, no person else might get contained in the bubble handy over a leaflet or to interact in “oral protest, training or counseling.” Additional, the ordinance prohibits amplified sound inside 100 ft (30 meters) of the property line of a well being care facility.

Violation carries a $1,000 high-quality, 90 days in jail or each.

A federal appeals court docket in February upheld the constitutionality of a 2009 Chicago ordinance that created an 8-foot (2-meter) bubble zone outdoors medical services. However, in 2014, the Supreme Courtroom struck down a 2007 Massachusetts legislation that banned folks from standing inside 35 ft (11 meters) of an abortion clinic.

Dr. Coleman Boyd, an emergency room doctor who leads a nondenominational Christian church in a Jackson suburb, mentioned he and his household usually pray outdoors the clinic and to attempt to speak ladies out of getting abortions. He believes the ordinance is unconstitutional.

“They’ve one objective,” Boyd mentioned. “They wish to silence those that are towards abortion.”

The proprietor of the T-shirt store, Ron Chane, instructed the Metropolis Council abortion protesters have yelled throughout the road at him. He mentioned he didn’t deserve “any of these self-righteous feedback.” He additionally expressed frustration with the clinic, saying if it was as much as him and different native enterprise house owners, the clinic may not be there in any respect.

“Possibly it might be a canine park or a car parking zone,” Chane mentioned. “We simply need peace.”


Observe Emily Wagster Pettus: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .


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Minister Farrakhan Responds to Fb & Instagram Ban – Assault on Freedom of Speech

Thurs, 5-10-2019 at St. Sabina’s Catholic Church, Minister Farrakhan who was banned this week by Fb & Instagram in a life-time removing of his social …