Monday, May 20, 2024

Suit cases / Totally rad / Left turns

Suit cases. The U.S. Supreme Court is unpacking eight cases this term that could have far-reaching implications for how Americans interact online.
■ OpenAI and Reddit have agreed to bring the social media platform’s content to ChatGPT, the Associated Press reported.
■ Ahead of the presidential election, AI chatbots can easily be manipulated to sow disinformation online, reported The New York Times.
■ Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito declared freedom of speech was under threat and freedom of religion in peril during commencement remarks in Ohio.
■ Louisiana is close to becoming the first state to require the display of the Ten Commandments in schools.

Totally rad. The country needs to build a broad moral consensus around the universal right to dissent, declared Jay Caspian Kang in The New Yorker.
■ The Israel-Hamas conflict has challenged whether college campuses are sacrosanct places for speech and protest.
■ The student-protest policies at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville do not threaten free speech, according to First Amendment experts.
■ The right to protest is at the heart of First Amendment freedoms and it has been beating across college campuses in 2024.

A free suppress? In a ‘‘catch and kill’’ scenario, there may be First Amendment implications in forbidding the purchase of a news story only to suppress it?
■ A London court ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can appeal his extradition to the United States on espionage charges but First Amendment protections are still in question.
■ Environmental journalists are increasingly under attack and facing obstacles to newsgathering, a UNESCO report has revealed.
■ Gannett fired an editor for talking to me, wrote Rick Edmonds, a media analyst for the Poynter Institute, in a recent opinion piece.
■ ProPublica editor Stephen Engelberg has won the Freedom of the Press Career Achievement Award.

Left turns. MSNBC’s leftward tilt has boosted its ratings but has been a source of discomfort for parent company, NBC which strives not to alienate red-state viewers, reported The New York Times.
■ A Georgia judge tossed a First Amendment lawsuit by a state Supreme Court candidate who sought to block an investigation of him for campaign comments about abortion issues.
■ California police have continued to violate the state’s press-freedom law, according to reports compiled by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
■ Lawsuits by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression have worked to protect public comments at government meetings.

Stay on the grass. An ordinance designed to cut down on lawn signs in a small Pennsylvania town was ruled unconstitutional by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
■ Local newspapers in Illinois would be bolstered by the passage of two state Senate bills.
■ Declaring a divestiture law violates the First Amendment, eight TikTok creators have sued the U.S. government for undermining “the nation’s founding principles.’’
■ Elon Musk recently won a victory for free speech …in Australia.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Helter shelter / Press on / Distrusted?

Helter shelter. The First Amendment largely offers protections for protestors’ expression, but not illegal actions on college campuses.
■ Citing “unnecessary use of force and encroachments on First Amendment rights,” free-speech organizations criticize Florida university presidents.
■ The American Civil Liberties Union has condemned the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act as it threatens to censor political free speech on college campuses.
■ Blocking journalists from reporting on a Columbia University demonstration was a “clear infringement of the First Amendment,” declared Mara Gay in a New York Times opinion piece.
■ More than a half century after the Kent State tragedy, a law professor examined the limits to our freedoms of speech and protest.

Bark and Byte. The sell-or-be-banned legislation against TikTok’s parent company could face an uphill First Amendment battle in court, The Associated Press has reported.
■ TikTok has reached a new licensing agreement that will restore Universal Music Group artists, which include Taylor Swift, to its social media platform.
■ The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Elon Musk over a settlement that requires him to get approval in advance before sending social media posts about his Tesla company.
■ Missourians have used a massive petition drive to put an abortion-rights measure on the November ballot.

Press on. Eight daily newspapers have filed a lawsuit accusing OpenAI and Microsoft of using copyrighted content without permission to train their generative products.
■ A lawsuit against Meta Platforms Inc. could determine if Facebook users have the right to control what they see, or do not see, on their personal feeds.
■ Silicon Valley is on edge following closing arguments in Google’s landmark antitrust case against the U.S. Justice Department.
■ Through testimonies and text messages, New York prosecutors have painted a picture of how Donald Trump turned the press into a tool to serve his own ends, declared a former U.S. attorney in an MSNBC opinion piece.
■ Gag-order violations by former president Trump are part of the “classic confrontation of constitutional rights.”

Ban-aid. With books being targeted in U.S. libraries at a growing rate, Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University, shares thoughts on what is and is not book banning.
■ State lawmakers in North Carolina have exempted themselves from public-records laws through provisions in the new state budget.
■ For journalists today, growing secrecy at state and local levels is limiting government accountability, explained media expert David Cuillier in The Conversation.
■ Israel’s government raided and shut down operations of the Al Jazeera television network in that country.
■ Political attacks on journalists are growing worldwide with governments failing to protect press freedom, according to a report from Reporters Without Borders.

Distrusted? Americans have serious trust issues with national news outlets heading into the 2024 election season, a new poll from the American Press Institute and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed.
■ A large majority of American adults specify press freedom as important to society, results of a Pew Research Center survey showed.
■ Organizers for the Democratic National Convention have promised to protect free speech while maintaining order, reported NBC News.
■ Journalists who are publicly critical of their companies have caused headaches for news organizations, according to The Associated Press.




Monday, April 22, 2024

Trample gamble / Valedictates / NP-argh

Trample gamble. TikTok has warned that a U.S. ban on its app would “trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans.”
■ A recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives has renewed a threat to TikTok and CNN examined what may lie ahead.
■ The U.S. Senate’s plans to expand surveillance capabilities would threaten press freedom, and everyone else’s too, the Freedom of the Press Foundation contends.
■ The launch of Meta A.I. has reconfigured the information-technology landscape with potential concerns on the horizon.
■ There is a First Amendment-friendly way to clean up social media, surmised author-lawyer Steven Brill in a Politico commentary.
■ High school students in Kansas persuaded a school district to remove their files from the purview of an A.I. surveillance systems, contending it violated First Amendment rights.

See no, hear no. Manhattan courtroom proceedings for Donald Trump’s hush-money case will be conducted without cameras or recording devices, as dictated by New York state law.
■ One America News Network has settled its defamation lawsuit with the voting-technology company that it targeted with unfounded fraud claims tied to the 2020 presidential election.
■ The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a lawsuit to move forward against a Black Lives Matter activist who organized a Louisiana protest during which a police officer was injured.
■ After recent clashes in Chicago, individual protest rights may be challenged by law enforcement at the Democratic National Convention, activist groups claim.
■ The First Amendment is an honorary winner in a public-speaking lawsuit settlement in a Detroit suburb.

Valedictates. Many schools have continued to silence valedictorians despite the likelihood that the institutions will become the center of a national controversy.
■ USC has cancelled its commencement keynote speaker, Asian filmmaker Jon Chu, just days after disallowing a Muslim student valedictorian to speak.
■ Ivy League college campus pro-Palestinian protests escalate, prompting arrests and moving classes online.
■ A new University of Michigan proposal to curtail demonstrations on campus could quell constitutionally protected protests, free-speech advocates said.
■ Ohio database death records are not open to the public, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
■ Following a two-day hearing, a Nashville judge will decide whether a school shooter’s journals are public records.

Bans expand. The banning of books in public schools surged in the first half of this school year, a new PEN America study showed.
■ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has backtracked slightly on his 2022 book-challenge law, but his state is responsible for more than 70 percent of pulled books in the country.
■ The country’s ‘‘Big Five’’ publishers have challenged an Iowa state law that bans certain books and limits the teachings on gender identity.
■ A federal judge has blocked a Florida law that barred a transgender teacher from using preferred pronouns.

NP-argh. One NPR editor’s essay over what he perceived as politically biased coverage has created turmoil at the public radio network.
■ Pushing censorship both from the left and the right is crippling free speech, said author Salman Rushdie in a ‘‘60 Minutes’’ interview. 
■ Journalist Terry Anderson, whose 1985 abduction, torturous imprisonment, and eventual release gripped the nation, has died at 76.
■ Citing First Amendment protections, the Walt Disney Co. has filed a motion to dismiss the wrongful termination lawsuit brought by actor Gina Carano.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Divided we stand? / Finding false / Saving grace

Divided we stand? Though united in our divisions, a new poll shows that Americans still agree on most of the country’s core values, including free speech.
■ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered Texas colleges to revise their free-speech policies in an effort to curb what he described as a “sharp rise in antisemitic speech.”
■ A Georgia superior court judge rejected Donald Trump’s First Amendment challenge in his election-interference case.
■ Trump publicly declared that it would be “a great honor” to be jailed for violating the gag order in his hush-money trial.
■ The former president’s legal claims about political speech are full of hot air, declared the author of “How to Read the Constitution -- and Why” in a commentary for The Hill.

Nun sense. A multimillion-dollar marketing blitz has engaged Sister Monica Clare and others to preach that TikTok is a force for good.
■ In an apparent show of Republican support for Elon Musk’s X, Missouri’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against progressive watchdog group Media Matters, reported The Guardian.
■ Israel’s prime minister is reportedly using a new national-security law in an attempt to shut down news network Al Jazeera in the country.
■ A federal judge dismissed a First Amendment lawsuit by a Minnesota physician and former GOP candidate for governor against the state medical board.

Finding false. Convinced that viral lies threaten democracy, a cadre of defamation lawyers are working to stem the tide of political disinformation one payout or apology at a time.
■ Despite 15 years of calls for anti-SLAPP legislation in one North Carolina county, the bills never made it out of initial committees.
■ Police have continued to arrest journalists and the Freedom of the Press Foundation continues its push to understand why.
■ A reporter’s arrest on the campus of Vanderbilt University echoed a disgraceful Civil Rights-era incident there, J. Holly McCall asserted in a Tennessee Lookout commentary.

Break the silence. Former CBS News reporters Catherine Herridge and Sharyl Attkisson, whose departures were called into question, are scheduled to speak at an April 11 House Judiciary Committee hearing on protecting journalists and their sources.
■ U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich marked a year in Russian prisons while the Biden administration reported that it continues to push for his release.
■ A college newspaper in Iowa stepped up and purchased two struggling weeklies in a commitment to slow growing news deserts in rural areas of the country.
■ The third lawsuit stemming from an August 2023 raid on a small Kansas newspaper that sparked a widespread outrage has been filed in federal court.

Saving grace. Limiting the number of meals a local church can serve to unhoused residents of Brookings, Ore., was a violation of religious-freedom rights, a federal judge ruled.
■ Opponents of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law by Iowa’s governor contended that it opens the door to discrimination.
■ A facial-hair ban for prison guards amounts to religious discrimination, the U.S. Justice Department has declared.
■ A fight to protect the dignity of Michelangelo’s David has raised questions about freedom of expression.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Ban the 'ban' / Post marks / Kate restraint

Ban the ‘ban.’ U.S. senators have publicly declared they are not calling for a ban on TikTok, only a desire to disarm it.
■ If the question is ‘Can Congress ban TikTok?’ then Judge Andrew Napolitano offered an answer in a recent guest commentary.
■ Federal prosecutors are pursuing a deal to avoid a First Amendment showdown over WikiLeaks, reported Reason’s Matthew Petti.
■ Graphic warning labels on packs of cigarettes do not violate the First Amendment, a judicial panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

Under the influence. A conservative social-media influencer and fervent Donald Trump supporter was arrested for her involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
■ College students are not ardent supporters of free speech, survey data collected by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression suggests.
■ Supreme Court justices refused to intervene in the dispute over a blocked drag show on a Texas university campus.
■ The women’s basketball coach at LSU has threatened to file a defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post over an unpublished story she labeled a “hit piece.”

Post marks. The U.S. Supreme Court seemed to side with the Biden administration over efforts to combat questionable social media posts.
■ Supreme Court justices appeared receptive to the National Rifle Association’s free-speech lawsuit against a former New York state official.
■ A small-town Texas ex-council member has brought her First Amendment-related retaliation claim before the Supreme Court.
■ A federal judge in California has rejected a lawsuit by Elon Musk’s X against a hate-speech watchdog group.

Kate restraint. British tabloids took a rare, reserved approach in the news frenzy over the Princess of Wales’s health, but it did not slow the flow of wild speculation.
■ Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” fame blasted NBC for its decision to hire former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel as a political analyst.
■ Gannett and McClatchy news chains announced they would cease using content by The Associated Press, a service used for decades.
■ Jon Stewart has returned to The Daily Show to push professional journalists to get Americans closer to the truth.
■ A new publisher has allowed Sports Illustrated operations to continue print and digital products.

Devil in the details? Satanic Temple representatives filed a lawsuit against Memphis-Shelby County Schools for blocking an afterschool club, labeling it a violation of the organization’s First Amendment rights.
■ Lawmakers in mostly conservative states have called for greater efforts to place chaplains in U.S. public schools.
■ Wendell Bird contends in a new book that most First Amendment freedoms received greater impetus from religiously motivated individuals than from philosophical thinkers, according to a review by Middle Tennessee State University political science professor John R. Vile.
■ The board chair at Middle Tennessee State University has pushed legislation to close official meetings for dealing with “sensitive” matters.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Sin waggin' / Dangerous game / Walk, can't run

Sin waggin.’ Florida’s ‘Stop WOKE Act’ restricting business diversity training infringes on free-speech rights, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.
■ Texas college students have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency ruling to allow them to host a charity drag show on campus.
■ A Buffalo man who cursed a police officer in 2016 has continued his winding free-speech battle that has reached the upper echelons of federal courts.
■ Americans believe that free speech is heading “in the wrong direction” when it comes to expressing views, a national survey has found.
■ Nashville’s Metro Council vowed to keep fighting a free-speech lawsuit brought by a firefighter demoted over “racially inflammatory” social media posts.

Dangerous game. Tech founders Elon Musk and Sam Altman are poised for an AI legal battle where everyone loses, a Reuters commentary declared.
■ Lawmakers, with the support of House Speaker Mike Johnson, advance a bill that could make TikTok unavailable in the United States.
■ The Princess of Wales has issued an apology for editing an official photograph of her and her children after concerns were raised by news agencies. 
■ Sunshine Week is an annual reminder of the importance of keeping public records and meetings open to the public, proclaimed Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University.
■ The Freedom of the Press Foundation has joined a legal brief filed in San Diego arguing that journalists must be able to cover this country’s incarcerated.

Crushing change. The challenges of top educators in teaching journalism during times of harsh economic realities plaguing news companies was examined in an NPR perspective piece.
■ With the belief that solving the country’s local-news crisis requires reinventing community journalism at the grassroots level, entrepreneurs will have to lead the way.
■ A commitment to free speech makes the United States vulnerable to disinformation campaigns, claimed MSNBC legal analyst Barbara McQuade.
■ An Oklahoma law has teachers fearful of teaching a book that is the foundation of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” an Oscar-nominated film about the true story of white settlers who murdered members of the Osage tribe in the 1920s.
■ A Tennessee high schooler has launched a free-speech club to fight back against library book bans.

Walk, can’t run. The First Amendment does not protect Oregon lawmakers who walked out in protest and now cannot seek re-election, a judicial panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed.
■ Facing charges that he joined the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, a conservative media writer has surrendered to federal authorities.
■ A union of immigration judges that regularly advocates in interviews and public forums has now been ordered to get Department of Justice approval before speaking publicly.
■ New Jersey legislation that would represent the most significant change ever to the Open Public Records Act may hinge on governor’s signature.

Swift response. Attorney Lynn Greenky in an analysis warned the college student tracking Taylor Swift’s flight information that the First Amendment protects free speech but not stalking.
■ A federal judge held veteran journalist Catherine Herridge in civil contempt for refusing to divulge a confidential source.
■ The publishing of an investigative story about Hamas’ use of sexual violence in the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel has divided The New York Times newsroom.
■ The pivotal Times v. Sullivan libel case turns 60 this month and News/Media Alliance has re-examined the watershed Supreme Court ruling.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Sturdy platforms? / Hack job / Jet fighter

Sturdy platforms? As it hears challenges to laws in Texas and Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court soon could yield a significant constitutional ruling on tech platforms’ free-speech rights.
■ In hearing two NetChoice cases this week, Supreme Court justices could turn First Amendment law on its head when dealing with social media restrictions.
■ The firing of a fifth-grade teacher for reading a book about gender identity in class was upheld by the Georgia Board of Education.
■ Activists must defend free speech that aids racial justice, suggested law professor Randall L. Kennedy in a Harvard Crimson commentary.
 
Hack job. A former journalist has been indicted on 14 federal crimes over the alleged hacking and leaking of unaired interview clips by ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
■ When does investigative journalism become hacking? The Verge sought to answer that question.
■ A CBS reporter’s dismissal has raised questions over whether it was part of company job cuts or tied to her First Amendment court battle over confidential sources.
■ The digital-media company BuzzFeed sold off a pop culture start-up for nearly half of what it paid for it in 2021 as its value continues to plunge.

Vice precedent? Hopes of attracting millions of young people to its news company have been dashed as Vice Media stops publishing online and cuts hundreds of jobs.
■ For an already struggling news industry, all signs for 2024 point to a continued free fall, contended Associated Press media writer David Bauder.
■ Read a personal letter to Nevada Independent employees from Editor and CEO Jon Ralston on his anguish over cutting staff and his refusal to give up.
■ Journalists who alleged harassment and injury by police during 2020 protests in a lawsuit were awarded a $950,000 settlement from the city of Minneapolis.

Jet fighter. Calling it an effort by rich and powerful people to silence free speech, legal representatives for the college student who tracks Taylor Swift’s private plane travel on social media have ignored the superstar’s cease-and-desist letter.
■ A “religious liberty” bill, previously viewed as discriminatory and rejected, has been re-introduced in the Georgia state Senate.
■ There is no evidence that our nation was founded as a Christian nation, but some Americans want the government to declare it as one now.
■ On the heels of President’s Day, the Free Speech Center’s constitutional scholar John R. Vile documented how U.S. presidents engaged in First Amendment issues during their time in office.

Heckler’s veto. Jewish rapper Matisyahu’s concert cancellations by venue owners reflect a continued threat to free expression, contended the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.
■ A board of education in Maryland is being sued by three teachers who claim their First Amendment rights were violated when they were suspended for “supporting basic Palestinian human rights.”
■ Missouri educators who opposed a school district’s required anti-racism training took their free-speech claims to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
■ The punishment of a Black student in Texas over his hairstyle did not violate a state discrimination law, a judge has ruled.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Disinformed / Spywarn / Putin it to him

Disinformed. Lawmakers and tech companies are scrambling to stop the AI-generated spread of false election information.
Not wearing a mask during a COVID emergency was not a right of free speech, an appeals court has ruled.
The real winner in a lawsuit between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Palestinian student groups was the First Amendment, concluded Ken Paulson, executive director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University.
Elementary school students have decided which freedom in the First Amendment is the most important, and they tell us why too.
 
A rich Mann. A Washington, D.C., jury has awarded $1 million to climate scientist Michael Mann after a 12-year defamation lawsuit battle.
A city and county in Ohio have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert after his unlawful arrest at a press conference.
ACLU’s fight over one Tennessee town’s anti-drag ordinance ends with a $500,000 settlement.
An Alabama library board has banned the purchase of books with sexual or LGBTQ+ content for children 17 and younger.
An upcoming election could create a majority of book-ban advocates on a school board in a Tennessee county.
 
Spywarn. The Biden administration has vowed to restrict visas for foreign individuals who abuse spyware to target activists and journalists.
A judge’s interpretation of the New Jersey anti-SLAPP law may go a long way in preventing malicious lawsuits aimed at journalists.
An Arizona bill that targets “swatting” could raise a First Amendment concern, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has concluded.
 
Putin it to him. Tucker Carlson’s interview with the Russian president left the former Fox News host in silence and looking confounded, reported The Washington Post.
Some CNN employees have said the network’s pro-Israel news slant is tantamount to “journalistic malpractice.”
The National Press Club offered journalists who had lost jobs the chance to commiserate over free tacos and drinks.
NPR’s Linda Wertheimer penned a bittersweet goodbye as she announced her retirement after a 50-year career.
 
A Wynn loss. Casino mogul Steve Wynn had his defamation lawsuit against the Associated Press dismissed by the Nevada Supreme Court.
A jury verdict for a former high school coach in a defamation case was reinstated by the South Carolina Supreme Court.
UC Berkeley cites students’ free-speech rights in its bid to end an antisemitism lawsuit.


 
 

Monday, January 29, 2024

Puzzling / Shielded / Money pit

Puzzling. As Donald Trump moves closer to another Republican presidential nomination, how to cover his live appearances has posed an unsolved riddle for news outlets, says Associated Press reporter David Bauder.
■ Election misinformation is spreading on X after Elon Musk dismantled the platform’s system for flagging false content, The New York Times has reported.
■ Are ballot selfies protected by the First Amendment? At the moment, there is no consensus among U.S. states.
■ Despite TikTok’s widespread popularity with Americans, government officials have worked to restrict access to it.
■ President Biden tries to balance Gaza protests and free-speech rights as his public events are disrupted by protesters.

Shielded. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a federal shield law (PRESS Act) that would protect reporters from disclosing confidential sources or having their digital records accessed by the government.
■ Seth Stern, a Freedom of the Press Foundation director, has answered the most frequently asked questions about the PRESS Act here.
■ A Texas law that would require sexual-content ratings from booksellers who deal with school libraries has been blocked by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
■ Despite a state policy prohibiting them, banned books fill a secret shelf at a Texas school, NPR reported.
■ Georgia lawmakers have passed a bill that would define antisemitism in state law despite opponents saying it could curtail free-speech rights.

Wrong side of the street. Blocking traffic is not protected by the First Amendment even though the freedom to protest is, argued Reason associate editor Billy Binion.
■ The arrest of an Ohio public official during a board meeting for comments critical of the local sheriff was a violation of her constitutional rights, a federal judge has ruled.
■ A parent did not have a First Amendment right to record an online meeting with school officials discussing his child’s individualized education plan, a three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.
■ A federal judge ruled that a Pennsylvania law making the release of information on teacher disciplinary complaints a crime is in violation of the First Amendment.

Money pit. The billionaires who said they wanted to save the news industry are losing a fortune, according to a financial analysis in The New York Times.
■ Following significant layoffs and the resignation of its top editor, the Los Angeles Times announced its first female executive editor, who is now tasked with navigating through the turbulence at the 142-year-old newspaper.
■ A clash between the Los Angeles Times owner and its former editor over an unpublished article reportedly led the latter to resign.
■ A vigil was held outside the U.S. Capitol to honor the more than 80 journalists and media workers who have been killed since the Israel-Gaza conflict began.

Boxed out. A Colorado man was cited after more than 200 local newspapers with a front-page story about an investigation into sexual assault at the home of a police chief went missing from distribution boxes.
■ Donations have helped a weekly newspaper in Oregon publish again weeks after an employee embezzled thousands of dollars and forced it to shut down.
■ Congress must help save local journalism before it is too late, urged the editor of The Seattle Times Save the Free Press Initiative.
■ An Oklahoma lawmaker has authored a bill that would require journalists to be licensed by the state and to take quarterly drug tests.
■ A federal appeals court in Maryland has upheld a law requiring gun dealers to distribute information about suicide prevention, conflict resolution, and mental health resources when selling firearms.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Swearing out / Block party / Free advice

(Editor’s note: On this holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., the Free Speech Center examines how the civil rights leader put First Amendment freedoms into action.)

Swearing out. An Air Force veteran had no First Amendment right to cuss out a therapist and police officers at a VA hospital, a federal appeals court has determined.
■ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis violated First Amendment protections when he suspended a state prosecutor for political gain, a federal court of appeals has ruled.
■ A New York judge has ordered Donald Trump to pay nearly $400,000 in legal fees to reporters that he sued unsuccessfully over a 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning story.
■ Media expert Jack Greiner has examined whether the firing of a university chancellor who appeared in pornographic videos was a violation of his First Amendment rights.

‘Rare bug.’ OpenAI has been hit with a barrage of high-profile lawsuits, including one from The New York Times, which could test the future of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence products.
■ In a case involving Big Tech and being watched by several states, a federal appeals court has directed a lower court to consider the merits of a First Amendment challenge to Maryland’s digital advertising tax.
■ Project Veritas’ First Amendment claim pertaining to the alleged theft of a diary belonging to the daughter of President Biden was rejected by a U.S. district judge.
■ No matter where you stand regarding Project Veritas, transparency remains vital when government investigates newsgathering, concluded Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Seth Stern.

Block party. An Alaska judge has ruled against a state representative who blocked a reporter from his Facebook page.
■ The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to consider whether school board members on their personal social media accounts can block someone and delete their comments.
■ There may be no bigger hypocrite on free speech than Elon Musk, declared the co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation in an opinion piece for The Guardian.
■ Elon Musk said his decision to ban a Hamas-linked account from X “was a tough call” he made after deciding that Hamas was not a United Nations-recognized government.
■ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) means different things to different people but goes hand-in-hand with free speech, contended the CEO of PEN America in a CNN commentary.
■ An Indiana judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a University of Notre Dame professor who contended that a student newspaper defamed her in its abortion-rights news coverage.

No references? Dictionaries and encyclopedias are among the nearly 2,000 books pulled from the shelves of schools in Florida’s Escambia County as officials work to abide by a new state law.
■ After a tenure replete with prestigious awards and contentious contract negotiations and layoffs, Los Angeles Times executive editor Kevin Merida has stepped down.
■ A newspaper in the U.S. Virgin Islands that first published in 1844 is closing, its owner has announced.
■ The Messenger, a start-up launched by longtime media executives with an aim to transform journalism, is in dire financial straits, revenue disclosures showed.

Free advice. A First Amendment victory for a North Carolina retiree is another reinforcement in the battle against occupational licensing boards that work to silence opinions of expert professionals.
■ Abortion-rights supporters have completed a successful petition drive to get a Florida state constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot.
■ Gunmen with explosives stormed a television station in Ecuador during a live broadcast before police rescued the staff and arrested the perpetrators.
■ The Freedom of the Press Foundation has received a $10 million donation from Internet entrepreneur Jack Dorsey to further its work protecting press freedoms.