Arkansas federal judge says no to censorship

A federal district judge placed a temporary injunction against an Arkansas law allowing criminal charges against booksellers and librarians who provide “harmful” materials to children. At record levels, states with conservative leadership have been introducing laws to ban or restrict books. (The Associated Press, July 29, 2023)

“Harmful” was defined in the law as “as containing nudity or sexual content, appealing to a ‘prurient interest in sex,’ lacking ‘serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic, or political value for minors’ or deemed ‘inappropriate for minors’ under current community standards.'” Judge Timothy L. Brooks said in the injunction that the law “‘would permit, if not encourage, library committees and local governmental bodies to make censorship decisions based on content or viewpoint,’ in violation of the right to free speech under the First Amendment. He agreed with the plaintiffs that the state’s definition of ‘harmful’ materials was overly vague.” (The Washington Post, July 31, 2023, by Annabelle Timsit)

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