THE PRESS MUZZLES ITSELF

The greatest threat to free speech these days is coming from the most unlikely quarter: journalists. It's happening--where else?--on the Net. A self-appointed council of "industry representatives," including people from the Wall Street Journal, the Newspaper Association of America, CNET, Wired and--no surprise!--Microsoft, is debating whether the online world might be a safer, happier place if a subcommittee of the council decides what's news and what's not. Anything deemed "not news" would be forced to submit to a rating system or risk being blocked by software browsers. And being blocked on the Web could mean extinction for small, independent-minded online publishers--the...

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