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Politics / TELECOMMUNICATIONS

In First Reddit Chat, President Promises Democratic Party Plank on Internet Freedom

President Obama responds to user questions on the website reddit.(White House)

photo of Josh Smith
August 29, 2012

In the first online question-and-answer session of its kind on the website reddit on Wednesday, President Obama promised that Internet freedom will be "reflected" in the Democratic Party platform.

In response to a question from user "SharkGirl," who pointed out that Republicans included Internet freedom in their party platform approved on Tuesday, Obama said it's an issue he cares "passionately" about.

"We will fight hard to make sure that the Internet remains the open forum for everybody—from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business," he wrote. "And although their [sic] will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle—and it will be reflected in the platform."

 

Companies, civil-liberties groups, and Democratic members of Congress have pushed for Internet freedom to be included in the party platform when the Democrats meet during their national convention next week in Charlotte, N.C.

Republicans and Democrats largely agree on maintaining the current form of international Internet governance, but the parties disagree about regulations like net-neutrality rules aimed at anticompetitive behavior online.

Obama has responded to questions on sites like Twitter and Facebook, but Wednesday's session was the first time a president had used the lesser-known reddit platform, which was used, among other things, to organize opposition to anti-piracy legislation earlier this year. 

The website had some difficulty handling the traffic, but Obama answered other questions on issues like small businesses and who his favorite basketball player is (Michael Jordan). He refused, however, to release his secret beer recipe, promising it would be out soon.

Obama also said that space exploration remains a major priority for his administration, despite shrinking budgets.

"The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting-edge research that can take us to the next level—so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to an asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight," he wrote.

 

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