Press endures tough times as Republicans take aim

Reporters are being detained and even jailed for doing their jobs with Republican politicians taking the lead of former president Donald Trump in attacking the press. Some called for criminalizing leaks, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposes a weakening of Times v. Sullivan. (Columbia Journalism Review, February 20, 2023, by Jon Allsop)

DeSantis held a panel discussion about the evils of Times v. Sullivan during which DeSantis accused the press of using Sullivan to protect themselves while smearing politicians thus discouraging prospective candidates for office. (techdirt, February 16.2023, by Mke Masnick)

A DeSantis ally introduced a bill in the Florida House to weaken Sullivan that prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams belittled as unconstitutional. He said that no state law could provide less protection in libel litigation that the First Amendment requires. Proponents of the law claim that defamation should be left to state law. (Law & Crime, February 20, 2023, by Colin Kalmbacher)

For related FAC coverage, click here, here and here. .


  • Has the FAC taken a position on DeSantis’ bill to kneecap Times vs Sullivan and, worse, on Florida’s Senate Bill 1316 which would require bloggers who write about Florida elected officials to *register* with the state and to file monthly reports:

    “If a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post, the blogger must register with the appropriate office… within 5 days after the first post by the blogger which mentions an elected state officer,” the bill said. “Upon registering with the appropriate office, a blogger must file monthly reports on the 10th day following the end of each calendar month from the time a blog post is added to the blog.”

    These should be of grave concern to citizens who value constitution protections for free speech, and who cherish the fundamental principle of government transparency and a citizenry free from government intimidation.

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