February 8, 1996 in Nation/World

Free-Speech Advocates To Protest Law On-Line

Compiled From Wire Services

Portions of the Internet will go into “virtual mourning” today to protest legislation outlawing sex-oriented material on-line.

Opponents of the Telecommunications Act said they will change the background color of their World Wide Web pages to black with white or gray text as soon as President Clinton signs it into law today. Congress passed the bill last week.

Normally, text on the World Wide Web is dark-colored on a light-colored background.

Web pages will remain in this virtual state of mourning for 48 hours to protest a provision that would outlaw electronic transmission of indecent and other sexually explicit materials to minors, said Shabbir Safdar, head of Voters Telecommunications Watch.

Free-speech advocates argue that the Internet is not a broadcast medium because users not only pay fees to access it, but also must actively search out sites. They say reasonable adults can decide for themselves what they - and their children - choose to read on-line.

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