First Amendment News

Times editorial cites ‘disturbing pattern’ of censorship

A New York Times editorial, January 20, 2024, described how state governments have passed or are considering laws that restrict speech on university campuses. Among others they cited a Arkansas law that requires paid speakers at universities to sign a pledge to not boycott Israel. California community colleges requires teachers to teach anti-racist principles to students. The editorial states that the motivation for the restrictions is not to promote free speech but to quell speech

Read More »

Site established to publish censored news stories

The co-founder of a leak-hosting site is setting up a service to publish censored news stories. After seeing that Reuters withdrew a story about a hacking-for-hie firm that steals secrets from politicians, military officers, executives and others, Emma Best established the Greenhouse Project to freely distribute information of public interest and combat the chill of censorship. (Columbia Journalism Review, January 18, 2024, by Mathew Ingram)

Read More »

Federal appeals court rules transit district must run religious ad

The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that it was unconstitutional for a local transit authority to ban religious ads on its buses. An Orthodox Jewish synagogue had wanted to place an ad to publicize their Hanukkah celebration. (Tampa Bay Times, January 19, 2024, by Olivia George) The 11th circuit said the ban on religious ads was untenable as it was not possible to determine a clear definition of religion. (techdirt, January 19, 2024,

Read More »

Troubling takeover of Baltimore Sun by Sinclair broadcasting

Sinclair broadcasting purchased the faltering Baltimore Sun causing concern about the editorial policies of the new ownership. Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith said his intent was to make the newspaper profitable, but the chain has sided with Trump on the issue of “fake news” and conveyed a right-wing slant to the news. (The Associated Press, January 16, 2024, by David Bauder and Lea Skene) Margaret Sullivan in The Guardian, January 18, 2024, lamented the

Read More »

Bill to protect sources passes House

The U.S. House passed the PRESS Act that protects journalist’s confidential sources from federal investigation. The proposed bill also stops federal agencies from seizing data from telecommunication companies without notice to journalists who could then bring a challenge in court. (Sacramento Bee, January 18, 2024, by Gillian Brassil)

Read More »