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Mobil Exxon shareholders press for greater transparency on climate change

Exxon Mobil is dealing with increased demand for disclosure of the risks of climate change to its bottom line. The company claims that demand for oil will increase over 13 percent by 2040 in the face of other reports that demand will fall by 22 percent by then given action necessary to keep global warming from creating […]

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Brit publishes manifesto for defending free speech in a connected world

An Oxford professor and former foreign correspondent has published a bold and provocative defense of free speech, “Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World.” Timothy Garton Ash  opposes hate speech laws and argues for more strident action in defying threats. (The New York Times, May 22, 2016, by Tom Rachman) In a review of […]

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California: Mt Diablo schools tap public coffer to fight disclosure of child abuse report

The East Bay Times is excoriating the Mt. Diablo Unified School District over its court battle to block release of an investigative report of teacher Joseph Martin later convicted of molesting students. After two and a half years, a judge forced the district to release the report after the district squandered $359,000 of the public’s […]

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Little takeoff in drone use by local TV news

A survey of local TV news stations finds that only 16 percent are using drones,  and 59 percent say they have no plans to use drones. The annual survey by the Radio Television Digital News Association with Hofstra University found that out of 100 news directors, only 7.7 percent are working on using drones in […]

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First Amendment case: Soda industry loses court ruling over San Francisco law requiring warning labels

A federal judge upheld a San Francisco law that will require soda companies to include label warnings on their products of risks of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. The court rejected industry arguments that the warning labels violated free speech. (San Francisco Chronicle, May 17, 2016, by Bob Egelko) Federal district judge Edward Chen denied […]

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San Diego law enforcement considers expedited release of videos of police shootings

San Diego County cities plan to release videos of officers shooting citizens immediately if the public requests them. The expedited procedure is intended to increase public trust according to law enforcement leaders. “We believe it is important for the public to understand what happened during a critical incident, such as a shooting. Presented out of […]

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SecureDrop: New system in play to protect journalists’ anonymous sources

A new guide to the use of SecureDrop, conceived to protect journalists’ communications with anonymous sources, reveals that the tool has enabled journalists to better protect their sources. “Given its complexity, SecureDrop may appear at first like a radical new tool, but many reporters told me that it closely resembles many of the other channels […]

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Knight Foundation gives $60 million to support First Amendment

Together with Columbia University, the Knight Foundation is launching a $60 million campaign to defend and promote the First Amendment using the law, research and education. The Knight Foundation believes that, with fewer print news outlets, more heft is needed to preserve free speech and free press in the age of fast-moving technology. (Courthouse News […]

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EFF claims proposed law threatens open government in California

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 13, 2016, opposes California Assembly Bill 2880 that grants local and state governments copyright authority and other intellectual property rights.  EFF’s Ernesto Falcon writes that EFF is worried the bill would “chill speech, stifle open government, and harm the public domain.” Under the bill, all works paid for by the […]

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Free press: Journalists settle lawsuit over police arrests during Ferguson protests

Four U.S. and German journalists settled their lawsuit against St. Louis County for violating their First Amendment rights during the Ferguson protests in 2014.  In settling, the county stated that they would adopt policies to address issues cited in the lawsuit and commit to keep the public informed while protecting the community. (Courthouse News Service, […]

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