It is another example of government trampling on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

In South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, the city council recently voted 4-1 to approve an “all-inclusive” social networking policy aimed at discouraging criticism of the government.

It outlaws the exercise of the First Amendment for all city elected representatives, appointed board members, employees, volunteers, vendors, contractors and anyone associated with the town in an official capacity who uses social networks, according to Ryan Lewis, writing for the Times Free Press.

The policy includes blogs, videos, Facebook and Twitter posts and all online discussions.

“It seems like every few meetings we're having to address something that’s been on Facebook and created negative publicity,” said Commissioner Jeff Powers.

Limiting the free exercise of speech “is just an industry standard nowadays,” he said.

“The first thing everyone wants to say is ‘I can’t post anything on Facebook.’ Well, you can. Just not anything that sheds a negative light on any person, entity, board or things of that nature. You can go ahead and post all you want,” added Commissioner Jeff Powers.

Powers said the decision adjusts the First Amendment to accommodate government policy. “What this policy tries to do is reconcile that right with other rights,” he said. “It does, to some extent, limit your ability to criticize or comment in an official capacity.”

South Pittsburgh Mayor Jane Dawkins said government officials will decide if online comments and posts are out of line.

“Criticism is one thing,” she said. “Out-and-out lies and untruths — that’s another thing. Those kinds of things are the things that will be directed.”


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