On Wednesday, the Obama White House issued a memo outlining how it will respond to the Trump administration’s crackdown on online news sites.
“The Trump administration has taken steps to restrict online freedom, and we will continue to fight back,” the memo says.
“This means that the Government will take action to protect online news publishers, but we will not interfere with their ability to operate their websites, and they will not attempt to take the power of their websites away.”
The memo goes on to state that the White House will “continue to vigorously oppose the imposition of censorship, intimidation, and other forms of undue power on websites and will vigorously defend the right to publish news, information, and ideas online.”
The Obama administration’s recent moves against online news outlets have been widely viewed as retaliation against the publication of the now-infamous leaked Trump dossier.
The memo makes clear that the Obama government will “stand with online publishers and news organizations” in fighting back against the Trump Administration’s efforts to curtail the internet’s freedom.
According to the document, the White and Congressional administrations will work together to “seek legal guidance to determine if there are any constitutional or statutory impediments to the administration of the Freedom of Information Act, and how to best address them.”
The document also states that the Justice Department and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will “work together to address any impediments or concerns that are identified through this process.”
The document also makes clear the Obama Administration will continue fighting against online censorship, in a number of areas.
As the memo explains, the government will work with the Federal Communications Commission to “make it easier for consumers to access information online, and to help prevent online intermediaries from blocking or throttling lawful online traffic.”
In a statement, the Trump White House said the document is “clearly a step in the wrong direction.”
“As the Obama and Clinton administrations, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Election Commission have repeatedly said, Internet censorship is a problem that is destroying democracy and chilling free speech.
The Trump administration, the Justice Dept., and the FCC should work with us to ensure the Internet is free, fair, and open for all,” a White House official said in a statement.