A day before Joe Biden's inauguration, the Justice Department under Donald Trump made a last-minute effort to undo a major court decision related to public official's social media accounts.
On January 22nd, the Texas Supreme Court rejected conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ request to toss four defamation lawsuits filed by parents whose children died in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The suits claim that Jones' statements calling the mass shooting a “giant hoax,” and accusing the parents of faking their children’s death were defamatory and caused the families emotional distress.
On January 25th, Dominion Voting System sued Donald Trump’s former attorney and former mayor of New York City Rudy Guiliani for defamation. The 107-page complaint filed in the United District Court for the District of Columbia accuses Guiliani of carrying out a “viral disinformation campaign” against the voting systems company, and having “deceived millions of people into believing that Dominion had stolen their votes and fixed the election.”
The state finally struck down a rule that media lawyers and court reporters say caused long delays in accessing court records. “It made me feel gratified and proud of the judicial system, because the justices value transparency and they took concrete steps to make sure Florida’s courts are open,” one lawyer told Courthouse News.
Since her nomination to then-President-Elect Joe Biden's Cabinet, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has stopped answering journalists' questions about the pandemic and vaccine distribution. According to The Providence Journal, Raimondo’s last weekly COVID-19 briefing was on December 22, 2020.
Join us for a conversation on February 10th with Nora Benavidez on how journalists and readers can help slow the spread of misinformation and restore public trust in news. The Q&A is part of our #FAWPublicForum event series, a monthly conversation with First Amendment experts on contemporary free speech issues.
On January 11, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) published more than a dozen documents on how and when its officers can use surveillance technologies, including body cameras, facial recognition technology, and cell phone locators. The agency’s move towards transparency is the result of a three-year-long battle that culminated this summer with the passage of the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act on June 18, 2020.
Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other privately-held companies have imposed bans on President Donald J. Trump, believing that his incendiary comments on January 6, 2021, helped fan the flames of outrage that resulted in an assault on the Capitol. Trump and others have decried the social media blackout as a direct assault on conservative points of view, and as a draconian targeting of only certain types of speech.