U.S. President Donald Trump awaits the arrival of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Ballard Spahr: Second Circuit Affirms That President Trump’s Blocking of Opponents on His Twitter Account Violates First Amendment

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr July 10, 2019 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday became the third federal circuit court to hold that the interactive space of a government official’s social media account is subject to First Amendment strictures. In Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia Univ., et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No.[Read More…]

July 11, 2019 Press, Social Media, Top Stories
Los Angeles Times Building (source: Wikipedia)

Judge Issues Protective Order for LA Times Reporters in Ongoing Lawsuit Against LA County

June 24, 2019 A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that journalists at the Los Angeles Times do not have to disclose the identities of their sources or turn over unpublished material they gathered during the course of their reporting. Under California’s Shield Law, journalists are protected from being forced to reveal confidential sources or to turn over unpublished information[Read More…]

June 26, 2019 Below the Fold, Press
Defunding of Student Newspaper Violates First Amendment, Says Watchdog Group

Defunding of Student Newspaper Violates First Amendment, Says Watchdog Group

An independent student newspaper lost its funding in a recent referendum vote, and the process violates the First Amendment, says Freedom for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Since The Daily Targumbroke free from Rutgers University in 1980, it has had to rely on funding from the student body, which votes every three years on whether to allocate student fees to fund the newspaper. In order to qualify for funding, at least 25 percent of the student body has to vote on the referendum. But following a two-year campaign by a right-leaning student group to deny funding for the student newspaper, for the first time in 39 years, voter turnout was too low to qualify the publication for funding.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Indicted For Violating Espionage Act

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Indicted For Violating Espionage Act

Federal prosecutors brought a new 17-count indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange is accused of violating the Espionage Act by helping former U.S. Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning hack into a government database, and disclosing the stolen information on WikiLeaks. The new charges significantly expands on Assange’s earlier charge of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.” The scope of the charges against Assange raise concerns among legal scholars about First Amendment protections for publishers of classified information.

May 23, 2019 Press, Top Stories
Gene Policinski Commentary: Journalists May Be Stuck With Assange’s First Amendment Defense

Gene Policinski Commentary: Journalists May Be Stuck With Assange’s First Amendment Defense

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Gene Policinski, originally published this commentary on April 18, 2019, on the Newseum blog, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint. For the latest news on the indictment of Julian Assange, click on the box below. For an in depth examination of WikiLeaks’ history and legal cases, click on the box below.[Read More…]

May 3, 2019 Press, Top Stories
Migrants from Central America seeking asylum illegally cross into the U.S. from Mexico in Penitas, Texas, August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

FOIA Suit Filed Over Secret Government Database

  An NBC affiliate in San Diego and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against four federal agencies. The complaint filed against the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Citizenship and Immigration[Read More…]

April 24, 2019 Below the Fold, Press
Police gather near the Capitol Gazette newspaper office where a shooting occurred in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The U.S. Is Now A Less Safe Place For Journalists

A newly released annual report by Reporter Without Borders, called the “World Press Freedom Index,” reveals a disheartening state of freedom of the press around the globe—including in the U.S. “The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media,” the report says. The United States has now become a less safe place for journalists, ranking at No. 48 out of the 180 countries and territories on the list.

April 19, 2019 Below the Fold, Press
The Georgia State Capitol, in Atlanta, Georgia Photo Credit: WikiCommons

Georgia Lawmakers File Worrisome Legislation To Create State Journalism Ethics Board

April 2, 2019: Georgia Lawmakers Propose Board That Would Promote “Canons of Ethics for Journalism” A group of six Georgia Republican lawmakers introduced an “Ethics in Journalism Act,” a measure that would authorize a “Journalism Ethics Board” to create and implement ethical standards to oversee journalists’ work and penalize journalists that do not comply. If approved, the board could also[Read More…]

April 9, 2019 News Gathering, Press, Top Stories
New York Fair Trial Free Press Conference

New York Fair Trial Free Press Conference

Every year, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) convenes a panel of journalists, judges, and lawyers to discuss a hypothetical case involving free speech, the freedom of the press, and citizens’ right to a fair trial. In October, 2018 the program explored a hypothetical case in which an incumbent Governor who’s running for reelection, is going through a contentious[Read More…]

Clear and Present Danger: Episode 22: Fighting Words – Free Speech in 18th Century America, Part II

Clear and Present Danger: Episode 22: Fighting Words – Free Speech in 18th Century America, Part II

Clear and Present Danger: A History of Free Speech is a podcast hosted by Jacob Mchangama, the founder and executive director of Justitia, a think tank focusing on human rights. Mchangama guides listeners through the history of free speech from the trial of Socrates to the Great Firewall of China.  In Episode 22 of the podcast, “Fighting Words – Free[Read More…]

March 8, 2019 Press, Speech, Top Stories