donal brown

California open government roundup: Sonoma County must release report on sheriff

Sonoma County must release a report on an harassment complaint against an elected sheriff who claimed a California law protected personnel records of police officers. Referring to the report, a state appeals court wrote, “The truth and accuracy of such statements [the harassment complaint] must be open to testing in the public square. Indeed, the fact we are dealing with what may fairly be characterized as political speech among elected officials toward one another underscores

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Independence Day: Putin shows why the free press must prevail

Free Speech Center’s Ken Pauson in Florida Today, July 3, 2022, writes that it is time on the Fourth of July to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. He cites the sad case of Russia as an instance of what can happen if our rights vanish. “The Russian public has been told that their country is doing noble work ferreting out ‘Nazis’”, writes Paulson, “and that the West is engaged in its usual

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Supreme Court allows coach’s prayers to protect religious expression

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on First Amendment grounds that a high school football coach had the right to lead a voluntary prayer with his players on the field after games. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority that it was vital to allow religious expression, and not every school employee activity is official conduct, otherwise “a school could fire a Muslim teacher for wearing a head scarf in the classroom or prohibit a Christian

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Federal court supports removing government ban on Black Lives Matter masks

A federal appeals court ruled that employees at the Allegheny County Port Authority could wear Black Lives Matter masks at work, stating that “the government may limit the speech of its employees more than it may limit the speech of the public, but those limits must still comport with the protections of the First Amendment.” They ruled the port authority shouldered the burden of proving that the policy did not violate free speech rights and

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Fact-checking takes on new urgency

With the world awash in lies, fact-checking projects have increased dramatically from 168 in 2016 to 391 in 2021. Leader of the International Fact-Checking Network, Baybars Orsek, noted the importance of fact-checking, “Our collective trust in reliable and authoritative information is being attacked by people in power. Their manipulation of truth makes people vulnerable to bad actors capitalizing on their lack of access to quality information for their own benefits. Autocratic governments and strongmen around

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