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European attempt to stem hate speech not an easy task

European countries are pressurizing social network companies to shut down hate speech, harassment and phony news placing responsibility on actors that are free of accountability and often prone to error in failing to protect important speech. (Columbia Journalism Review, January 17, 2018, by Mathew Ingram) The problem surfaced on New Year’s Day when a German […]

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Federal appeals court rejects claim that law against prostitution violates First Amendment

The Ninth Circuit U.S Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that laws criminalizing commercial sex passed constitutional muster. The court found that the laws against prostitution were in the public interest and did not run afoul of free speech protections. The San Francisco-based sex worker advocacy group that brought the lawsuit is expected to appeal the […]

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Six stories show how online censorship thrives

Wired Magazine published six stories of censorship of online speech: songwriter Holly O’Reilly sued President Donald Trump for blocking her on Twitter; young-adult novelist Laura Moriarty’s latest publication was called a “white-supremacist novel;” former Google engineer James Damore was fired over his internal memo suggesting an open discussion of Google’s diversity policies; Writer Ijeoma Oluo […]

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Republican senator to call out Trump for assaulting the press

Trump critic, Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake plans to deliver a speech criticizing the president’s criticism of the news media. The speech is intended to counter Trump’s announcement on January 17 of his “fake news” awards to outlets he considered unfair. Last year Trump called the news media “the enemy of the American people.” (Denver […]

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First Amendment Attorney Duffy Carolan Appointed President of FAC Board of Directors

The First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce the appointment of Duffy Carolan, an esteemed First Amendment lawyer and longtime board member, as president of FAC’s Board of Directors. Carolan, a former journalist who has spent her career defending the First Amendment, is one of the country’s foremost champions of free speech and access to […]

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Romney target of Russian bots and trolls while Democrats suggest countermeasures

As soon as Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate and Trump critic, announced his interest in running for the Utah U.S. senate seat of the retiring Orrin Hatch, Russian tweets with the hashtag #neverromney burgeoned. It is apparent that Russia will continue to support Trump during the midterm elections. (NextGov, January 4, 2018, by Max De […]

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Transparency: LAPD breaks new ground in release of video showing killing of homeless man

After three years of protests, the Los Angeles Police Department released body cam videos of the controversial killing of a homeless man in 2015.   (Law & Crime, January 8, 2018, by Colin Kalmbacher) Although some 6,000 LAPD officers are equipped with body cams, the department has never before released videos from the cams. LAPD […]

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Latest Trump tirade about libel laws stresses need for stronger protections for free press

President Donald Trump is once again railing against libel laws calling them “a sham and a disgrace.” He pledged to do something about them after his lawyers threatened a suit against Michael Wolff’s wildly popular book, published January 5, about the operations of the Trump While House. With the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in […]

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Right wing provocateur sues Twitter for kicking him off the platform

Barred from Twitter since 2015, conservative activist Charles C. Johnson is suing the company in California state court for violating his free speech rights. Twitter banned Johnson after he used the site to urge viewers to “take out” a Black Lives Matter activist. (The Daily Dot, January 9, 2018, by David Covucci) Johnson claims Twitter […]

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