Free Expression Policy Project

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Free Expression Policy Project
Free Expression Policy Project.png
Organization banner image
Abbreviation FEPP
Formation 2000; 14 years ago (2000)
Founder Marjorie Heins
Type Nonprofit organization
Legal status
Active
Purpose Freedom of speech research and advocacy
Location
Official language
English
Affiliations National Coalition Against Censorship
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School
Website www.fepproject.org

The Free Expression Policy Project (FEPP) is an organization devoted to assisting researchers with assembling information related to freedom of speech, media democracy, and copyright, and advocating for these issues. Civil liberties lawyer Marjorie Heins founded the nonprofit organization in 2000. Based in Manhattan, New York, it was initially associated with the National Coalition Against Censorship, and subsequently operated as part of the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.

The FEPP conducted a survey in 2001 which revealed that online monitoring software, including Net Nanny, SurfWatch, and Cybersitter, cast too broad a net and often blocked legitimate educational websites in their attempts to censor material from youths. In 2003, the organization assisted 33 academics in filing a friend-of-the-court brief challenging a law which restricted the sale of violent video games to minors. In coordination with the Brennan Center for Justice, the FEPP released a public policy report in 2006 on the inefficiency of Internet filtering; the report concluded that freedom of expression was harmed by such online censorship activity. In 2007, the FEPP became an independent organization.

The New Walford Guide to Reference Resources praised the FEPP website for its links to resources on freedom of expression and censorship. FEPP has been characterized by the Austin American-Statesman as a think tank devoted to researching the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Denver Post described the organization as a censorship watchdog organization, and a separate article from the same newspaper called it a left-of-center politically aligned group, which advocated for both intellectual freedom and artistic freedom.

History[edit]

The Free Expression Policy Project was founded by Marjorie Heins, who became its initial director.[1][2][3] It was formed as a nonprofit organization.[4] Founded in 2000,[5][6] the organization formed with goals of assisting researchers with assembling information related to freedom of speech, media democracy, and copyright, and advocating for these issues.[2][5] It started as an outgrowth of the National Coalition Against Censorship.[6] Prior to founding the organization, Heins served as director of the Art Censorship Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.[6] The FEPP monitors incidents of censorship against artists,[7] and is based in Manhattan, New York.[7][8][9]

A 2001 survey conducted by the organization found that popular online filters including Net Nanny, SurfWatch, and Cybersitter had significant problems, and blocked legitimate websites, including the website of US Congressman Richard Armey because his site included his nickname, "Dick".[10] The University of Kansas Archie R. Dykes Medical Library was blocked by SurfWatch because the word "dykes" appeared on the site.[10] In 2003, Stephanie Greist served as communications director for the Free Expression Policy Project.[4]

In 2003, the Free Expression Policy Project assisted 33 academics specializing in journalism, with filing a friend-of-the-court brief challenging a law which restricted the sale of violent video games to youths.[11] In 2004 the organization operated at the National Coalition Against Censorship.[12][13] In 2005 the organization was part of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.[14][15][16] Within the Brennan Center for Justice, the FEPP operated through the Democracy Program at the law school.[17] In 2006 the organization, in collaboration with the Brennan Center for Justice, released a report on the inefficiency of Internet filtering.[18] The 87-page report concluded that academic-based censorship of material on the Internet was far too broad and harmed free expression of ideas.[18] The FEPP became independent from both the National Coalition Against Censorship and the Brennan Center for Justice in 2007.[6]

Analysis[edit]

The New Walford Guide to Reference Resources praised the FEPP website for its links to other websites about freedom of expression and censorship.[19] Austin American-Statesman described the Free Expression Policy Project as a think tank dedicated to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[20] A 2002 article in The Denver Post called the FEPP a watchdog organization which monitored censorship.[21] In a 2004 article, The Denver Post characterized the organization as a think tank from the left-of-center political alignment, which advocated for both intellectual freedom and artistic freedom.[22] The New York Times called the FEPP an organization which was critical of censorship of depictions of violence in the media.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gaetano, Chris (July 9, 2004). "Analysis: FCC rekindles focus on indecency". UPI Perspectives (United Press International). 
  2. ^ a b "Civil liberties lawyer Marjorie Heins will deliver U-M lecture on academic and intellectual freedom". State News Service (InfoTrac). October 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Indecency fine zips lips on TV programs". The Palm Beach Post. June 13, 2006. p. 8D; Section: Business News. 
  4. ^ a b c Hafner, Katie (June 5, 2003). "On Video Games, The Jury Is Out And Confused". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. G1; Section: Business News. 
  5. ^ a b Carroll, Brian (2010). Writing for Digital Media. Routledge. p. 294. ISBN 978-0-415-99201-5. 
  6. ^ a b c d Finan, Christopher M. (2010). "Free Expression Policy Project [FEPP]". In Jackson, Kenneth T.; Keller, Lisa; Flood, Nancy. The Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd ed.). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11465-2. OCLC 842264684. 
  7. ^ a b Eakin, Emily (November 26, 2002). "The Censor and the Artist: A Murky Border". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. E3. 
  8. ^ Ho, David (June 18, 2006). "Taking no chances". The Austin American-Statesman. p. J01; Section: Business News. 
  9. ^ "That's indecent! (or is it?); For TV and radio, FCC must decide how far is too far". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. April 2, 2006. p. C1. 
  10. ^ a b Rowan, David (December 30, 2004). "Keep your children safe on the superhighway; Cover Story". The Times (London, England). p. 4. 
  11. ^ Shinkle, Peter (June 4, 2003). "Violent video games gain victory in court". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. A1. 
  12. ^ Kloer, Phil (February 4, 2004). "Context drives result when TV dares to bare". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia). p. A1. 
  13. ^ Bourge, Christian (May 20, 2004). "Analysis: Clearplay or censorship?". UPI Perspectives (United Press International). 
  14. ^ Sherman, Mark (May 6, 2005). "Pornography peddlers find business under legal attack; White House steps up prosecution of obscenity with new Justice unit". The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey). Associated Press. p. A29. 
  15. ^ Jesdanun, Anick (June 13, 2005). "Adult web sites may get '.xxx.'". The Cincinnati Post. Associated Press. p. A1. 
  16. ^ "Internet red-light district given tentative approval". Wisconsin State Journal. June 13, 2005. p. A1. 
  17. ^ Signorielli, Nancy (2005). Violence in the Media: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 181. ISBN 978-1-85109-604-6. 
  18. ^ a b Bainbridge, Jim (May 28, 2006). "New report criticizes Web filters". The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colorado). p. 4; Section: Business. 
  19. ^ Lester, Ray; Clinch, Peter; Dawson, Heather; Edwards, Helen; Tarrant, Susan, eds. (2008). "The Free Expression Policy Project: a think tank on artistic and intellectual freedom". The New Walford Guide to Reference Resources. Facet Publishing. pp. 550–552. ISBN 978-1-85604-498-1. "The site is notable for its extensive and well annotated list of links to websites which also have information about censorship, free expression ..." 
  20. ^ Lindell, Chuck (February 11, 2004). "Lawmaker's got 8 dirty words he wants off the bleepin' air". The Austin American-Statesman. p. A1. 
  21. ^ Thomas, David (October 13, 2002). "Top thinkers rebut gamers\violence link". The Denver Post. p. F-10. 
  22. ^ Ostrow, Joanne (February 1, 2004). "Censors at FCC checking wind direction". The Denver Post. p. F-04. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Finan, Christopher M. (2010). "Free Expression Policy Project [FEPP]". In Jackson, Kenneth T.; Keller, Lisa; Flood, Nancy. The Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd ed.). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11465-2. OCLC 842264684. 
  • Lester, Ray; Clinch, Peter; Dawson, Heather; Edwards, Helen; Tarrant, Susan, eds. (2008). "The Free Expression Policy Project: a think tank on artistic and intellectual freedom". The New Walford Guide to Reference Resources. Facet Publishing. pp. 550–552. ISBN 978-1-85604-498-1. "The site is notable for its extensive and well annotated list of links to websites which also have information about censorship, free expression ..." 

External links[edit]