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MISC> The birth of a digital gag order

RUSSELL BLINCH: The birth of a digital gag order


Copyright =A9 1997 Nando.net
Copyright =A9 1997 Reuter Information Service

TORONTO (June 1, 1997 2:02 p.m. EDT) - For the Canadian digital
nation, the election of 1997 was almost a sideshow to a growing
cyber scream of protest over a government's attempt to gag "improper"
campaign Web sties.

The Canadian election, not unlike the U.S. election last year, was
from the start a most wired affair. A myriad of sites, personal,
satirical, and corporate sprang up with a wealth of news and
background on the federal election.

You could begin with the self-described "The Mother of all Canadian
election Pages" or tap into Yahoo Canada's site to get a taste of
some of the offerings.

The election was called 18 months early by Prime Minister Jean
Chretien's Liberal government and all the polls showed the party
would sleep walk to a second consecutive parliamentary majority in
the June 2 election.

But some issues did manage to get in the way -- taxes, gun control
and the old Canadian standby of Quebec separation -- and these were
debated on the Net and out on the hustings.

In the U.S. election that swept President Clinton back to power
there were signs that the Internet played a role and helped to
challenge the noise coming from the more traditional sources of
newspapers and broadcast stations.

Jon Katz wrote in Wired's April 1997 issue that during the U.S.
election he saw "primordial stirrings" of a new kind of a political
nation, a Digital Nation. "I began to feel I was witnessing a birth
 -- the first stirrings of powerful new political community."

In the Canadian election, however, the debate on the Net was
increasingly focused on the country's electoral laws as enforced by
Elections Canada. People were most enraged by two big issues: that
no one could produce campaign material without saying who sponsored
it and that 72 hours prior to the election no one was allowed to
publish results of a new or old opinion poll.

[73 lines left ... full text available at <url:http://www.reference.com/cgi-bin/pn/go.py?choice=message&table=06_1997&mid=918741&hilit=CENSOR+CENSORED> ]

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