The American conservative watchdog group Freedom Watch says it has obtained emails from the U.S. State Department showing how the agency is using e-mail blacklisting to censor conservative websites and activists.
Freedom Watch has called for an investigation into the State Department’s actions, saying the blacklist is being used to suppress speech.
“E-mail is not the only way to suppress political speech,” Freedom Watch said in a statement.
“If the State Dept. is so concerned about suppressing conservative speech, why are they not trying to censor their own political opponents?”
The State Department said the blacklisting policy is voluntary.
The State Dept., in its own statement, said that its “e-mail systems have been reviewed by the National Security Council and are consistent with U.N. standards and best practices.”
The agency has defended the blacklist, saying it was intended to provide “the public with access to government information and information of interest to the public.”
The State department also said it had no role in the process.
“The system used to identify, restrict, and block communications from government and non-government entities is designed to provide the public with a wide range of information, including information on foreign governments and international organizations,” it said.
“To the extent that the State department is able to provide any information, it will be shared with the other agencies listed on the system.”
The U.K.-based news outlet Breitbart News has been critical of the State State Department over the blacklist.
The agency’s chief, John Kirby, is also the executive director of the conservative group Judicial Watch, which has sued the State government over its blacklist.
Freedom WATCH has also criticized other government agencies over their handling of political speech.
It called for a congressional investigation into how the State Government was using e.mail blacklist and the Obama administration’s response to it.