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David Snyder, Journalist and First Amendment Lawyer, Named to Head FAC

David Snyder, a lawyer and journalist who has worked at the highest levels of both professions, has been selected as the new Executive Director of the First Amendment Coalition. He takes over leadership of the free speech and open-government organization on January 1. Snyder is an attorney in the San Francisco office of Sheppard Mullin …

Read moreDavid Snyder, Journalist and First Amendment Lawyer, Named to Head FAC

Can the First Amendment Survive President Trump?

BY PETER SCHEER—Freedom of speech is as fragile as it is precious. President-elect Donald Trump likes to talk about a future in which America will be great “again.” Freedom of speech—in particular, the right to criticize government without having to whisper and look over one’s shoulder—is why, frankly, America is great now. Freedom of speech …

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Guest Commentary: Did the Media go too far in Disclosing a Secret Dossier on Russia’s supposed “kompromat” against Trump? Nyet.

BY PETER SCHEER—I share misgivings about the decision by multiple news organizations to go public with reports on rumors—all “unsubstantiated,” as they hastened to disclaim—about collusion between the Trump camp and Russian intelligence services; about compromising x-rated videos of Trump in the company of prostitutes during a 2013 trip to Moscow; about alleged financial inducements …

Read moreGuest Commentary: Did the Media go too far in Disclosing a Secret Dossier on Russia’s supposed “kompromat” against Trump? Nyet.

Putin plays the media like a violin

On Access by Peter Scheer

BY PETER SCHEER–Among the many “firsts” of the current election cycle is the disconcerting spectacle of a foreign adversary successfully manipulating the American news media. I’m referring, of course, to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. After government cybersleuths, at his direction, hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer network and the email inbox of Hillary Clinton’s campaign …

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Did NBC secretly hand over the Trump grope tape to the Wash Post?

On Access by Peter Scheer

If you were among the first people to listen to the Donald Trump grope tape, you did so on the website of the Washington Post. The Post had it first, which is interesting when you consider the tape was stored in NBC archives and was discovered by NBC personnel. And yet the Post beat NBC on …

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Police are wrong: Cop-cam videos must be released as public records

BY SUSAN SEAGER–Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck’s release of security camera footage showing 18-year-old Carnell Snell Jr. moments before he was shot to death by LAPD officers in South Los Angeles on Saturday is a first step away from the department’s secrecy policy for tapes of fatal shootings. But Beck hasn’t moved far enough. …

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FAC sues LA council over destroyed public records

On Access by Peter Scheer

A new lawsuit filed by the First Amendment Coalition against Los Angeles highlights local governments’ all-too-common—and illegal—practice of destroying public records. The suit, filed Thursday in Superior Court for Los Angeles County, focuses on documents that went missing when a termed-out council member, Tom LaBonge, left office in 2015. Thousands of documents about city business—”public …

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1st Amendment fallout from Peter Thiel’s bankrolling of Hogan suit against Gawker

On Access by Peter Scheer

In an interview with Pacific Standard, I discussed the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker—or more precisely, the role of billionaire Peter Thiel, who financed the litigation even though he was not a party in the case and had no legal standing to be one. From the transcript: . . . . .  “I’m afraid that …

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IRS censorship of nonprofits must give way to the First Amendment

News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Because of legal restrictions on nonprofit, “charitable” organizations, I am not allowed to say that Donald Trump poses an existential threat to First Amendment freedoms. I believe it to be true.  But as executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, I am supposed to keep such thoughts to myself. The freedom to engage in public …

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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 …

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