Director Ensor says VOA to China will not go silent on October 1

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This email just in less than 10 minutes ago, from David Ensor, Voice of America Director. Colleagues in the China Branch, I want to take this opportunity to share information with you about the FY 2012 budget and its possible impact on the Mandarin and Cantonese Services. I have been working closely with other senior agency managers on developments relating to VOA China programs and can confirm for you today that the proposed reductions to the VOA Mandarin and Cantonese Services will not take place on October 1.

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Director Ensor says VOA to China will not go silent on October 1

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    Jane Smith 29 September, 2011 at 17:58 Reply

    Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:
    Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
    The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym “Publius,” and “the Federal Farmer” spoke up in rebuttal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized rights to speak anonymously derived from the First Amendment.
    The right to anonymous speech is also protected well beyond the printed page. Thus, in 2002, the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring proselytizers to register their true names with the Mayor’s office before going door-to-door.
    These long-standing rights to anonymity and the protections it affords are critically important for the Internet. As the Supreme Court has recognized, the Internet offers a new and powerful democratic forum in which anyone can become a “pamphleteer” or “a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox.”

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