Free Press and Free Speech aren’t so free

Many news media now have paywall to support themselves. But this prevents the public from reading the news. Even then, those with no paywall are imposing their own leanings with censorship in the Public Square.

I’m selecting CIVIL BEAT (CB) because I’m familiar with it. I like Civil Beat focusing on public affairs. CB used to have a reporter stationed at City Council hearings along with Star Advertiser. Today, City Hall has no such coverage. Veteran Star Advertiser reporter Gordon Pang has left too.

Civil Beat has accomplished much to the Public Square dialogue. It has provided the public with much useful governmental information that should have been in the open public domain in the first place. CB has produced many outstanding and in-depth articles and outreach.

Civil Beat has stated that it has liberal progressive leanings. Somehow, CB has particularly also targeted a couple of politicians more than usual – Tulsi Gabbard and recently Kai Kahele. Other politicians appear to have gotten off with much less scrutiny. More on this later.

Another area that I’m becoming very concerned about is the censorship on comments. This contradicts the free speech and open dialogue that Civil Beat is trying to promote.

More and more residents have complained on social media and other circles that their comments were censored. Many do not participate any more.

I myself have countered many posts censorship even when I don’t threaten or bully or use swear words. I even use my real name and not a pseudonym. I feel compelled to participate because I want to support Free Speech.

I also like to question and/or provide different perceptions or analysis to the public dialogue.

Let’s use this CB article as an example:

On October 21, 2022, I submitted my comments and questions hours prior to my write-up here. But so far my comments have not been accepted even though I posted after “Kana_Hawaii“. Other comments AFTER Kana-Hawaii have been posted. not mine. This is not the first time my comments have been censored.

Below are screenshots of newer comments that have been posted to this same article. Doesn’t it look like my comments have been censored again?


About Civil Beat ( Excerpts): Honolulu Civil Beat is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt news organization dedicated to cultivating an informed body of citizens, all striving to make Hawaii a better place to live. We achieve this through investigative and watchdog journalism, in-depth enterprise reporting, analysis and commentary that gives readers a broad view on issues of importance to our community.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar launched Civil Beat in 2010 as a local digital platform that looks beyond traditional print and television media approaches. To expand our reach so that more people in Hawaii have access to the information they need, Civil Beat removed its paywall in June 2016 and transitioned to 501(c)3 nonprofit status. We are members of the Institute for Nonprofit News, a coalition of more than 300 nonprofit newsrooms across the U.S.

Our goal is to challenge our leaders to do better. We are the watchdogs of the public’s trust and we take seriously the mission to educate our citizens on important public issues.

Our long-term goal is to produce journalism with a purpose, to stimulate positive change. We do not align with political or special interest groups and adhere to the strictest journalistic standards and ethics. Generally, we follow the guidelines set out by the Society of Professional Journalists in its ethics code as well as more general news practices outlined by the Associated Press. You can find our policy on anonymous sources here and our policy on corrections here.

We believe news is a public asset and that Civil Beat can and should be a good community partner, not just an arms-length observer recounting news of the day. We have a stake in this community as much as it has a stake in us.

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