Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed new voting legislation on May 6th. The bill signing was broadcasted live on Fox & Friends, a morning news program on Fox News Channel, but all other media outlets were denied access. The decision drew criticism from media organizations and First Amendment scholars.
On April 30th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s determination of mootness concerning a local journalist’s claims against the city of Memphis.
On April 22nd, the First Amendment Coalition (FAC), a nonprofit public interest organization, filed a lawsuit against Ventura County in Southern California. FAC alleges the County violated the California Public Records Act (CPRA) after failing to appropriately respond to two requests for information regarding data on COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths, thus violating the right of access under the First Amendment.
The MacIver Institute sued Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers in 2019 after his office allegedly refused to invite reporters from the think tank’s news arm, MacIver News Service, to press briefings. On April 9th, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sided with the Governor after finding his office had acted on viewpoint-neutral policies and that MacIver had failed to show evidence that the policy was applied in a discriminatory manner.
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.
The ninth circuit reinstated a lower court's injunction exempting journalists and legal observers from general dispersal orders. Many reporters say they have been assaulted by federal agents despite remaining several feet away from protests.
Though politicians and journalists need one another, their interactions are by nature often adversarial. A key part of a reporter’s job is to look beyond the story public officials want to tell and to ask uncomfortable questions. But when officials believe reporters go too far, can they ban them from attending future gatherings? And what First Amendment or other rights protect reporters from such actions?
The defense counsel in a high-profile criminal case in California asked a court in August to close the pretrial hearings from the public and media. Now, a First Amendment advocacy group is pushing back, arguing that there are ways to ensure a fair trial without compromising public access.