First Amendment Scholars Want To See The Media Lose These Cases

The lawyers and First Amendment scholars who have made it their life’s work to defend the well-established but newly threatened constitutional protections for journalists don’t usually root for the media to lose in court. But that’s what is happening with a series of recent defamation lawsuits against right-wing outlets that legal experts say could be the most significant libel litigation in recent memory.


Corn-Revere: Broadcasting Deserves Full 1st Amendment Protection, And Social Media Should Keep Theirs

Robert Corn-Revere, a veteran First Amendment attorney and former legal assistant to late FCC Commissioner James Quello, argues that the right case might just unlock FCC ownership restrictions and that social media platforms deserve no less protection from government censors and regulators than any of their predecessors.

Judge Tries To Block New York Times’s Coverage Of Project Veritas

Trump Suits Against Tech Giants Face Steep First Amendment Hurdles

A unanimous 1974 Supreme Court decision said newspapers could not be forced to publish replies from politicians they had criticized.

The First Amendment’s Role In Broadcast And Online Regulation

Everyone knows that a fundamental principle of American democracy is the First Amendment — guaranteeing many freedoms to U.S. citizens including freedom of the press and freedom of speech.  It is one of those concepts that underlies our society, but is often mentioned only in passing, and rarely considered in practice.  Few people — even broadcasters and other media companies — have cause to think about First Amendment principles in their day-to-day operations.  The concepts embodied by the First Amendment are almost a given — except when they aren’t.

Privacy Expert And First Amendment Defender Kurt Wimmer Dies

Stone Tablet Marking First Amendment Freedoms Finds New Home

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, which sits in an area of the city billed as America’s most historic square mile, will erect the tablet, previously displayed on the facade of the now-shuttered Newseum in Washington, in an atrium overlooking Independence Hall, the UNESCO World Heritage Site where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were adopted.

DOJ Settles First Amendment Suit Over White House Press Access

Hustler Founder And First Amendment Advocate Larry Flynt Dies

Hustler magazine publisher Flynt was shot in a 1978 assassination attempt and left paralyzed from the waist down but refused to slow down, building a flamboyant reputation along with a fortune estimated at $100 million while championing First Amendment rights. He was 78.

Judges Hear Arguments Over Md. Law Barring Broadcast Of Audio From Court Hearings

Pai: FCC Will Clarify Sec. 230

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has signaled he plans to follow President Trump’s lead and “clarify” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. He also says he has been assured by FCC lawyers that the FCC has the authority to do so. ““As elected officials consider whether to change the law, the question remains: What does Section 230 currently mean?,” Pai said in a statement. “[M]any advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230. The commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230.  Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning.”


Hearst And NAB Honor Anniversary Of First Amendment


1st Amendment Shines During Toughest Of Times

NAB CEO Gordon Smith: “The work of our most-trusted sources of news — our local radio and TV stations, broadcast network partners and community and national newspapers — during the most important events of the past six months have shown how essential a free press is to keeping people informed. Yet, these historic times have also laid bare the existential threats facing journalism brought on by economic, cultural and political factors.”

NAB Launches First Amendment Campaign

The National Association of Broadcasters has launched a campaign to celebrate the 231st anniversary (Sept. 25) of the passage of the constitutional amendments that became the Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment that guaranteed free speech and a free press. The campaign focuses on the key role broadcasters play in upholding those freedoms, coming at a time when broadcasters are taking an economic hit.


Trump’s FCC Move Is A 1st Amendment Assault

Washington Post editorial: The president’s withdrawal of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s renomination is a message to him, his fellow FCC commissioners and appointees across agencies of what happens when they dare to put the rule of law first, just as the president wants Twitter, and Facebook, and all influential companies on the Internet or off to know how carefully they must tread with him in charge. This is a flagrant assault on the First Amendment under the guise of defending it, and an assault on those who seek to defend the right of free expression.

Judge Tosses Virus Lawsuit Against Fox News

A Seattle judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a little-known advocacy organization that hoped to bar Fox News Channel from transmitting its popular primetime opinion programs to its large cable-news audience. The Washington state group known as the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics, or WASHLITE, filed a suit in Superior Court of Washington State in April, calling for an injunction that would keep Fox News from “publishing further and false and deceptive content” about the coronavirus pandemic.

NCTA Backs Fox News in WashLITE Lawsuit

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, whose members include the owners of CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, and CBS News, has joined the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to support Fox News in its defense of a lawsuit filed by a group, WashLITE, critical of Fox News/Fox Business Network commentary on the coronavirus. WashLITE said that commentary is deceptive commercial speech in violation of consumer protection laws.

DOJ Seeks Appeal In 1st Amend. Case

President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice lawyers are asking a New York federal judge to allow an immediate appeal of her decision that a suit accusing him of repeatedly violating the First Amendment can move forward — and they want to pause the proceedings in her courtroom while that appeal plays out.

Pai: Pallone Should Condemn Free Press Petition

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has asked the chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to speak out against Free Press’s emergency petition to the FCC to stop what that group said was “right-wing personalities” spreading disinformation about the pandemic.

Gabbard Loses 1st Amend. Lawsuit Against Google

Siding with Google, a federal judge has thrown out Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s free-speech lawsuit against the tech company over a brief suspension of her advertising account.

Court: Tech Platforms Aren’t Bound By 1st Amend.

A federal appeals court in California on Wednesday ruled that privately operated internet platforms are free to censor content they don’t like. Though not unexpected, the unanimous decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco marks the most emphatic rejection of the argument that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other giant tech platforms are bound by the First Amendment.

Gray Wins First Amendment Case In Vermont

The state Supreme Court ruled that the public has a right to records in an earlier case in which Gray Television’s argued successfully that its CBS affiliate WCAX Burlington should not be forced to turn over to police footage of a shooting in January 2018. “This unanimous decision is an important victory not only for the Vermont media, but all Vermonters, who depend on journalists to be independent and not take sides in any kind of story,” said Lisa Loomis, president of the Vermont Press Association.


The Price Point | Broadcasters: Beware Of Unintended Consequences

As legislation is being proposed to regulate Big Tech, broadcasters should realize that any regulation involving use of the internet by business will eventually affect television stations, particularly any encroachment on the First Amendment. This is a genuine concern because one of the bubbling issues is who can post what information.

Jenni Rivera TV Series Results In First Amendment Win For Univision

Two First Amendment Victories In Fla.

The sun is shining a little brighter in the Sunshine State, thanks to a pair of mid-May court rulings in cases involving press freedom in which the RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force has been involved.

Exhibit Highlights Cartoonists’ 1st Amendment Focus

The political cartooning display at Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum runs the gamut from a 1774 etching by Paul Revere criticizing Britain’s use of tea as a political weapon to a 2018 cartoon lampooning the blocking of online conservative commentary.

RTDNA, More Than 100 Other Groups Oppose DHS Surveillance Of Journalists, Others

Kaplar Named Media Institute President

Richard Kaplar has run the media company-backed First Amendment advocacy organization since January 2018 following the retirement of president-CEO Patrick Maines, but with the title of executive director, a post Kaplar has held since 2016.


CNN V. Trump Might Be Over, But…

… the dangers are just beginning. New White House rules governing the press corps threaten the First Amendment.


Free Speech Is On A Slippery Slope

Rich people have free speech rights. Do the corporations they run? That question is destroying democracy.

Fox News Case Appealed To Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court may soon have the opportunity to shake up the consumption of news. At stake could very well be the online dissemination of broadcast news clips as well as a deeper understanding of how politics and news intersect. That’s because Wednesday, the media monitoring service TVEyes indicated in an application to the high court that it would indeed be petitioning for review of a recent appellate loss to Fox News.

Judge Vacates Order Restricting LA Times

A federal judge on Tuesday lifted a controversial order requiring The Los Angeles Times to delete information in an article published over the weekend. U.S. District Judge John Walter walked back his original decision after the Times protested with the support of newsrooms across the country, citing First Amendment concerns.

Court Strikes Down IMDb Age Law

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the State of California’s SAG-AFTRA-backed law making it illegal for the entertainment news site IMDbPro to publish actors’ ages is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.


America’s Waning Commitment To 1st Amend.

The creation of the First Amendment by our nation’s founders demonstrated a profound commitment to human dignity, reason and the search for truth. First Amendment confusion reigns today in America. Today, too many Americans take a self-centered approach, claiming their own individual rights, but not acknowledging that the First Amendment protects the free speech of the other guy, too.

RTNDA Blasts Ga. Senate Over Press Threat

RTDNA on Thursday demanded that the press office for the Georgia State Senate rescind its threat to revoke press credentials for a WGCL Atlanta reporter who had the audacity to ask questions of a state senator in the public hallway of a public building, the Georgia State Capitol.

What Reporters Get Wrong About 1st Amend.

Journalists are not immune to misunderstandings of the First Amendment, despite their self-evident interests in the functionality and well-being of a free press (and, indeed, their long and important efforts to protect speech and press freedoms). Jonathan Peters asked a dozen media law professors and attorneys what they consider common misunderstandings that journalists have about the First Amendment and media law. Eleven shared their thoughts.

GOP Senator Defends 1st Amend. In Video

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on New Year’s Day called for a revival of “shared facts” in politics and the media. Sasse released a video saying that the country’s system of government “will not work” without a shared understanding of the value of the First Amendment.

A First Amendment Victory In St. Louis

Pai Once Again Declines To Reproach Trump

Under questioning by New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone at a House hearing, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai would not be drawn into criticizing the president for suggesting that the FCC ought to revoke the licenses of media companies for news stories Trump felt were untrue. However, Pai did say that he would not use the power of the FCC for retribution against any media company because of its reporting.

Pai Urged To Disavow Trump’s NBC Tweets

A group of 21 free speech activists, including three former FCC commissioners, called on the FCC chairman to publicly repudiate President’s Trump tweeted suggestion that the FCC revoke broadcast licences for airing “fake news” about him. “Such threats are what you would expect to hear in a dictatorship, not a democracy, and they must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” they say in an open letter.