The new GOP majority in the 118th Congress needs to act as a check on potential censorship by the White House, Rep.-elect Kevin Kiley, R-Calif., told Newsmax on Wednesday.
"We have, of course, long known that there has been a sort of collusion between the government and tech companies when it comes to censorship and so this is, I think, going to be a very important priority for the next Congress," Kiley told "Spicer & Co." "I think we are really at a crucial moment in our country's history when it comes to the role of freedom of speech, and it being at the center of what makes our democracy work, and I think that it's important for our new majority to do everything it possibly can to protect free speech."
Reacting to former Twitter head of trust and safety Yoel Roth's admission Tuesday that censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story was a "mistake," Kiley said, "It shouldn't be up to him or Twitter or the government, certainly, or anyone to sort of divine what information is worthy of participation in public discourse."
"That's the whole idea behind our First Amendment, is that we don't have some central authority that is the arbiter of truth, that we leave that to the marketplace of ideas and if there's an idea out there that is wrongheaded, or that is false, to quote a famous Supreme Court opinion, 'The solution, the remedy, is more speech, not enforced silence,'" he said.
The soon-to-be Golden State representative stressed the importance of Congress' role in preventing censorship by the executive branch.
"If the White House tries to take any steps to promote censorship in any quarter or to try to use its power to encourage or prompt social media companies to engage in censorship, then Congress needs to be on top of that to expose what's going on," Kiley said. "We already have, by the way, many documented examples of this happening.
"I'm from California. There was a Freedom of Information Act request that showed that the [California] Secretary of State's office was actually telling Facebook and Twitter which posts to remove, so we've seen a lot of examples of this sort of nexus of censorship between the government and tech happening already."
The 118th Congress will be sworn in Jan. 3, 2023.
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