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House Favors Net Censorship

Members of the House Conference Committee on Telecommunications Reform met yesterday and approved a proposal to censor content on the Internet. The proposal states that anyone who posts "indecent" material in a public forum on the Net may go to prison for two years and pay a $100,000 fine.

The committee stated that "indecent" material would include the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) so-called seven dirty words, nude photos and paintings, explicit rap lyrics, and sex and AIDS literature. Anyone who posts this material will be subjected to punishment if the proposal passes.

Rep. Rick White (R-Washington) pushed for the present "harmful to minors" standard and encouraged parental control yesterday, but lost his fight. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) challenged White by stating that "indecency" should replace "harmful to minors." Goodlatte's substitution was approved on a vote of 17 to 16.

The House and the Senate both must agree on the bill before a vote can be taken. The Senate is currently going over the issues.