Tag Archives: free speech

PA: No charges for man who tried to make pol feel like undocumented immigrant

Source: PennLive

“A man who was kicked out of a televised town hall for seeming to suggest that Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s daughter had been kidnapped won’t face charges. Simon Radecki’s question was inappropriate and offensive but was within the bounds of free speech, District Attorney John Morganelli said Monday, overruling police who initially planned to charge him. Radecki, a 28-year-old activist, was picked ahead of time to be one of Toomey’s questioners at the Aug. 31 event at a PBS station in Bethlehem. When it was his turn, he thanked Toomey for taking questions but then veered off-script and said: ‘I know we’ve been here a while. You probably haven’t seen the news. Can you confirm whether or not your daughter Bridget has been kidnapped?’ Police yanked Radecki off stage as he continued, ‘The reason I ask is because that’s the reality of families that suffer deportation …'” [editor’s note: It’s insane that whether or not the guy would be charged with a crime even seems to be a question; the only ones facing charges should be the cops who abducted him – TLK] (10/09/17)


White House wrongly calls for investigation into UNLV professor’s comments

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Joe Cohn

“Video of UNLV history professor Tessa Winkelmann’s in-class comments last Thursday, in which she said that President Donald Trump’s rhetoric was at least partially to blame for the Oct. 1 massacre of concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip, has drawn the ire of the White House. … Troublingly, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the [Las Vegas Review-Journal] in a subsequent interview that she agreed with the student, calling for an investigation into the professor’s comments. … Although the White House has the right to respond to criticisms, the professor’s comments clearly constituted protected speech and should never be subjected to investigation. Investigations into protected classroom speech are incompatible with academic freedom.” (10/09/17)


America’s many divides over free speech

Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

“Would you say that people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those that are deeply offensive to other people; or that government should prevent people from engaging in hate speech against certain groups in public? That choice kicked off a lengthy survey on free speech and tolerance that will be released later this month by The Cato Institute, which collaborated with YouGov, the market research firm, to collect responses. The final data set was drawn from answers to scores of questions provided by 2,300 people. I got an early look at the survey this month when the institute invited me to Washington, D.C., for a panel discussion on the results. ” (10/09/17)


Criminalizing “lying” will only lead to censorship

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Jeff Jacoby

“In a unanimous decision two years ago, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down a state law that had criminalized the making of ‘any false statement’ in a political campaign. Such a law was plainly incompatible with fundamental free speech rights under the US Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, and the SJC said so. The proper response to a political falsehood isn’t to prosecute, but to counter the lie with the truth, the court held. In a democracy, it is up to voters to decide what is true and false in political rhetoric: ‘Citizenry, not government, should be the monitor of falseness in the political arena.’ That case was styled Commonwealth v. Melissa Lucas. Colleen Garry ought to read it. Garry, a Democrat, is a longtime state representative from Dracut who has come up with a brainstorm: She wants the Legislature to pass a law punishing anyone who spreads ‘any false information’ in a political ad. How’s that for original thinking?” (10/07/17)


FL: Cops abduct man over parody account that allegedly hurt police department’s “brand”

Source: Gizmodo

“A Florida man has been arrested for running a parody Twitter account impersonating a Miami Beach Police Department spokesperson — a story we’ve already seen play out with two similar cases over the past few years. Although it has never ended well for authorities, police officers arrested 48-year-old Ernesto Orsetti on Wednesday at his Miami Beach home, the Miami New Times reports. MBPD Chief Dan Oates reportedly called Orsetti’s behavior ‘outrageous’ and said he would be ‘held accountable’ for ‘threatening to damage the reputation of our superb Public Information Officer, as well as the Miami Beach Police Department brand.’ … In 2014, a man in Peoria, Illinois was raided by the city’s police after creating a satirical account mocking its mayor. He was awarded $125,000 in damages after an unsuccessful attempt to bring charges against him during a case in which the defense argued a First Amendment right to satirize government officials.” [hat tip — David Klaus] (10/06/17)


India: Court asks police to open case against actor for criticizing Modi

Source: India.com [India]

“A couple of days after actor Prakash Raj voiced his disappointment over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence concerning Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder, a Lucknow court today asked police to register a case against him. The court’s order came on a complaint filed by a lawyer. The court will hear the case on October 7. Prakash Raj, who has won five National Awards to his credit, had criticised PM Modi over his silence on those who were ‘celebrating’ the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh and said he feels like returning his awards. Lankesh, who had strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead from close range by unknown assailants at her home here on the night of September 5.” (10/04/17)


Freedom of expression under attack in Algeria

Source: Students For Liberty
by Anis Bachir

“I believe that the decline of Algeria from Partly Free to Not Free in the world press freedom index is strongly due to restrictions placed on the media in recent years. A lot of laws imposed content limitations on privately owned broadcasters, and government agencies withdrew advertising from media outlets that covered opposition parties. Foreign journalists were denied entry visas, had their visas restricted, or faced obstacles to access on the ground. The Algerian constitution guarantees freedom of expression. However, a state of emergency was in effect from 1992 until the last years, allowing the government to penalize any speech deemed threatening to the state or public order. While the state of emergency has since been lifted, substantial legal restrictions on press freedom remain in place.” (10/03/17)


When the government declared war on the First Amendment

Source: Reason
by Damon Root

“One hundred years ago, the U.S. government declared war on the First Amendment. It all started with President Woodrow Wilson. On April 2, 1917, Wilson urged the nation into battle against Germany in order to ‘make the world safe for democracy.’ But the president also set his sights on certain enemies located much closer to home. ‘Millions of men and women of German birth and native sympathy … live among us,’ Wilson observed. ‘If there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with with a firm hand of repression.’ That firm hand came in the form of the Espionage Act, which Congress passed in June 1917 and Wilson eagerly signed into law. … [It] effectively criminalized most forms of anti-war speech.” (for publication 10/17)


CA: Napolitano pledges to uphold UC’s free-speech tradition

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“The University of California will uphold its free-speech tradition by hosting provocateurs such as Milo Yiannopoulos, regardless of their message, unless they resort to personal threats or attacks on audience members, UC President Janet Napolitano says. ‘If we at UC unreasonably limit the ability of speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter to safely express themselves on our campuses, we are telling the world that we would accept suppression of our own speech,’ Napolitano told a legal conference Friday in Sacramento. She spoke a day after conservative commentator Ben Shapiro gave a speech at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall under heavy security, while several hundred protesters held a rally nearby but were kept from entering the campus. Yiannopoulos, Coulter and another right-wing commentator, Steve Bannon, former chief strategist for President Trump, are scheduled to appear at UC Berkeley during a four-day event, starting Sept. 24, that sponsors are calling ‘Free Speech Week.'” (09/16/17)


Libel law is how governments kill free speech

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Jeffrey A Tucker

“It took half a millennium to arrive at institutions that established a clear wall here: the state may not, regardless of the excuse, interfere with people’s right to express a thought. Nor may the courts act on behalf of any private party that claims to have been injured, unless that private party can prove actually malicious intent and real damage. Today in the US, there is a high wall between the state and the freedom to speak in print (which includes digital publication). But how thick is this wall? There are always pressures to penetrate it.” (09/08/17)