Archive

An Unprecedented Uptick in Book Bans Brings First Amendment Scrutiny

Virginia is among the top 10 states in book banning conflicts, according to a PEN America study. There, the ongoing battle has led most recently to a state judge throwing out a decades-old state obscenity law that had the effect of imposing a prior restraint on book distributors. And it stirred widespread opposition including one of the largest booksellers in the nation, Barnes & Noble. 

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Demonstrators hold a protest rally the week after an unarmed man was shot dead by police in Phoenix

Preliminary Injunction Blocks Arizona Law Restricting Recording of Police

Judge John Tuchi for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona granted the motion for a preliminary injunction Friday and enjoined enforcement of the law pending resolution of the case on the merits, according to Ballard Spahr attorney Matthew E. Kelley, who represents an alliance of press groups in opposition to the law.

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Teacher and Citizen Guides: Recording Video and Audio of Police Officers

By 2019, more than 81% of Americans owned a smartphone, as compared to 35% in 2011. This has given rise to “citizen journalists” who record and disseminate videos of police officers performing their duties in public. Does the First Amendment protect them, or can the state prohibit the recording of police activity?

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Sandy Hook Families Demand Probe into Alex Jones-Owned Company’s Bankruptcy Filing

The motion, filed Aug. 25 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, says Jones has “systematically transferred millions of dollars” to himself and relatives, despite the company filing for bankruptcy to allegedly avoid paying damages to the families. In a response filed Aug. 28, Jones’ attorneys state that the families’ “motion is brimming with inaccuracies and allegations that have no basis in fact.”

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Ruling Against Florida’s ‘Stop WOKE’ Law is Latest in First Amendment Encroachments

Chief Judge Mark Walker concluded that this law restricted speech and suppressed expression of Florida employers, employees and diversity consultants. He described the provision as “a naked viewpoint-based regulation on speech” that violated the First Amendment.

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Jacob Mchangama on the Long History of Blasphemy Violence in Wake of Rushdie Attack

First Amendment Watch asked Mchangama, a free speech historian and scholar, his perspective on  the evolution of blasphemy laws and the context surrounding the vicious attack against Salman Rushdie, a Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

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Demonstrators hold a protest rally the week after an unarmed man was shot dead by police in Phoenix

Press Groups, ACLU Challenge Arizona’s Law Restricting Recording of Police Officers

The motion filed Tuesday morning argues that the law, known as HB2319, is a content-based restriction on speech and would have a chilling effect not only on the First Amendment activities of visual journalists “whose job it is to document the newsworthy activities of public servants in public places” but would also affect the general public who “simply wants to record what law enforcement officers are doing."

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‘We are Salman’ Supporters of Free Speech Rally in New York City

The seriousness of the stabbing attack which cut his neck, liver and severed nerves in his arm, didn’t deter Rushdie from offering some ideas to PEN America about which readings of his the writers, editors and artists might deliver in front of a crowd of hundreds listening on the library steps for the #StandWithSalman event Friday morning.

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