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FAC teams up with New America Media and CA Black Media to assist ethnic journalists

The First Amendment Coalition has teamed up with leading associations of ethnic news media, both in California and nationally, to provide their members free legal consultations on questions about their rights as journalists. The associations are California Black Media (CBM) and New America Media (NAM). CBM is a statewide information and education network for some […]

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FAC sues Novato over secret emails

The First Amendment Coalition (FAC) has filed a lawsuit  against Novato, CA to force the city to make public emails about a controversial sports complex proposed for the Hamilton Fields neighborhood. The suit, filed July 12 in Marin County Superior Court (court documents posted below), contends that the emails relate to a public issue of importance to the local community, and […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Moving On

BY PETER SCHEER—After twelve years as executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, I recently told our Board of Directors that I will be stepping down at the end of the year. I will stay involved with FAC in significant (albeit non-managerial) ways—starting with our search for a new executive director. FAC is in a […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Transparency coming to police one city at a time

BY PETER SCHEER—Kudos to San Diego DA Bonnie Dumanis for taking a first step to increase public scrutiny of police. Earlier this month, Dumanis, with the backing of the city police chief and county sheriff, released police videos (from body and vehicle cameras) of ten officer-involved shootings since 2014. She also announced a new policy: […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

California agencies have no business claiming copyright protection for public records

BY PETER SCHEER—When deciding how to vote on one of the hundreds of bills in the political sausage maker that is our State Legislature, lawmakers should always ask this one question: Is there a problem that this legislation seeks to fix? Given that all laws have costs—even if their magnitude is debatable or unpredictable—a law […]

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FAC partners with Online News Association to assist digital journalists

The First Amendment Coalition is delighted to announce a partnership with the Online News Association to provide ONA members—-digital journalists working primarily for digital media platforms—with legal help on First Amendment and other media law matters through FAC’s Legal Hotline service. The Legal Hotline is a legal consultation service available on FAC’s website. Users submit […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Facebook, under attack for choosing “trending” stories, should embrace the 1st Amendment

PETER SCHEER—Facebook wants you, me and the federal government to believe that the selection and prominence of content on Facebook, particularly in its “trending stories” feature, has nothing to do with human judgment or choice. This has long been Facebook’s public posture, and it was its initial knee-jerk response this week to a news story, […]

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Guest Commentary: CA's judiciary toothless watchdog

Watchdog for errant CA judges has no bite, no bark

  BY JOE SWEENEY AND TAMIR SUKKARY — The Commission on Judicial Performance is a little-known agency that has one of the most important jobs in California — to protect the public by investigating complaints against judges and disciplining misconduct. The commission is effectively responsible for maintaining the integrity of California’s courts. Such an important watchdog should […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

After near-death in Supreme Court, will public employee unions change their ways?

BY PETER SCHEER—Public employee unions, the most powerful special interest group in California and most other states, came within a heartbeat of losing that power, as a legal challenge by dissident public school teachers came to a close in the US Supreme Court this week. I use the word “heartbeat” somewhat literally, because it is […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Apple is right: the order requiring it to create code to defeat iPhone security is “coerced speech” forbidden by the 1st Amdt

BY PETER SCHEER—The court battle between the FBI and Apple presents an important first amendment issue: whether the government can force a company to engage in expression—to wit, the writing of computer code—-that the company not only objects to, but views as inimical to its interests and its customers’ interests. Apple claims that this coercion […]

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