Recently many political activist groups have set their proverbial sites on the National Rifle Association. The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) has been advocating for gun rights, teaching firearm competency, history and safety since 1934 in schools, trade shows magazines, and now streaming platforms.
A few political groups have been using the recent school shooting in Florida as a tool to shut down speech they do not like or agree with, and the NRA’s streaming channels have been targeted. Roku issued a statement today responding to calls for them to censor speech on their platform:
“We share deep sadness about the recent tragedy that occurred in Florida.
Our streaming platform allows our customers to choose from thousands of entertainment, news and special interest channels, representing a wide range of topics and viewpoints. Customers choose and control which channels they download or watch, and parents can set a pin to prevent channels from being downloaded. While the vast majority of all streaming on our platform is mainstream entertainment, voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel. We do not curate or censor based on viewpoint.
We are not promoting or being paid to distribute NRA TV. We do not and have not ever had a commercial relationship with the NRA. Their channel is free to consumers with no ads. We welcome Moms Demand Action and other important groups to use our platform to share their messages too.
While open to many voices, we have policies that prohibit the publication of content that is unlawful, incites illegal activities or violates third-party rights, among other things. If we determine a channel violates these policies, it will be removed. To our knowledge, NRA TV is not currently in violation of these content policies.”
I am glad to see Roku take this stance as I think most people, pro or anti-NRA are. No matter how much we disagree with one another, we should never be afraid of opposing speech. The winds of what is proper speech is always changing, and ideas you advocate for may be next to be deemed offensive.