Editorial Roundup for Sunday — October 23, 2005

• Preparations against bird flu;

• FEC and political bloggers

Corriere della Sera, Milan, Wednesday, Oct. 19

We all expected the bird flu virus to reach us from Russia, now the question is how to prepare.

Stockpiling antiviral drugs, like Roche’s Tamiflu, is essential, and the countries … which have ignored this have made a mistake.

But now Roche must license the patent for Tamiflu to other companies, so that we may have enough doses to face a (human) pandemic, if it should ever come.

Roche should be compensated for its patent, but global health is more important than missed revenue.

The planet is so small that the virus crosses it quickly, the economy is one, so we need to hold on dearly to our shabby multilateral organizations and forget corporate egoism.

With foresight, generosity, rationality, a bit of luck and a lot of modesty we will overcome the tragedy of a pandemic, if it should ever happen. Indifference, greed and panic will take us straight into the chicken’s jaws.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tuesday, Oct. 18

Political bloggers have made the Internet their own personal soap-box. They can react 24/7 to anything or anyone on myriad Web sites across the political spectrum. They freely rant and rave to like-minded or diametrically opposed bloggers the world over.

The Federal Election Commission has been ordered by a federal court to draw up regulations that would extend the nation’s campaign finance laws to political activities on the Internet. But the court didn’t tell the FEC how to do it. The commission has apparently resolved a number of Internet matters but is still considering whether long-standing freedom of press exemptions to its rules should apply to online publications and, by extension, bloggers. …

It’s safe to say most bloggers would not describe themselves as traditional or mainstream journalists offering unbiased and fair views, but that’s not the point of exempting their speech from government regulation. Th ey argue convincingly that FEC regulations on the Internet, even ones limited to advertising, would have a chilling effect on free speech.

The FEC should be more concerned about protecting bloggers from government oversight than scrutinizing their ideological communiqués for the appearance of corruption. Fortunately wiser heads on the six-member commission are expected to prevail on this debate. …


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