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.
“No politician likes being the subject of critical coverage, but that comes with elected office, and I would be abdicating my role as a journalist if I failed to hold local government, including the City of Memphis, accountable,” Thomas said in a press statement.
“By banning protests generally, and denying Givens’ permit specifically, Defendants have deprived Givens of the opportunity for airing his grievances against the government, including the State’s failure to conduct timely background checks for those wishing to purchase a gun and restrictions on speech activities,” the complaint argues.
On April 28th, Sean Hannity, a Fox News host, threatened to sue The New York Times over a column that linked a Brooklyn bar owner’s death from coronavirus to Hannity’s comments that downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic.
“The public health crisis provides authoritarian governments with an opportunity to implement the notorious ‘shock doctrine’ – to take advantage of the fact that politics are on hold, the public is stunned and protests are out of the question, in order to impose measures that would be impossible in normal times,” Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement.
The suit contends that religious groups should be allowed to gather in person “regardless of the number of participants,” if they agree to “adequate social distancing.”
"While public safety is certainly part of any reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions...we are very concerned that this antiquated 'avigation' law is being used in an arbitrary and capricious manner to chill newsgathering efforts to report on a matter of grave public concern," Mickey Osterreicher, the general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said in a statement.
Filed on April 13th in Price County Wisconsin Circuit Court, the lawsuit claims that the TV ad spliced together two video clips from separate campaign events to make it appear as if the president has said the phrase “The coronavirus, this is their new hoax.”