New report shows American voters overwhelmingly support press freedom but are missing signs it’s under threat

Amid an alarming confluence of threats to journalists and the news media, there is a lack of urgency among American voters around the idea that press freedom is at risk in the U.S., according to a new research report released Wednesday by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.  A majority of voters, 52 percent,…

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“Skillful” First Amendment attorney from Iowa is 2017 Inductee to the State Open Government Hall of Fame

Michael Giudicessi, a partner in the Des Moines office of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP was selected as the 2017 inductee into the “Heroes of the 50 States: State Open Government Hall of Fame.” Each year, the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), in collaboration with the Society of Professional Journalists, solicits nominations for First Amendment “heroes” whose…

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Thriving in the gray: How Knight Foundation’s strategy is evolving in the age of disruption

Fact-based journalism now competes with false information for our attention while our cities and citizens become both more connected by technology and more divided by ideology and income. The values reflected in lines of code, whether it be at the ATM, when we search on internet or drive a car, are already affecting what we think, what we do and what information we share with those around us.

Read full article here.

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Judge forces Florida paper to unpublish information

A judge in Palm Beach County has ordered a Florida newspaper to unpublish material from its website, sparking an outraged response from media lawyers who say the order is a clear First Amendment violation and contrary to established precedent on prior restraint.

Circuit Judge Jack Schramm Cox ordered The Palm Beach Post to remove from its website transcripts of telephone recordings in which a jailhouse snitch bragged about his ability to elicit confessions from fellow inmates and how he had arranged a deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence.

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First Amendment vs. freedom of information law

Sometimes the First Amendment guarantees access to public records (generally limited to court records). Often Freedom of Information Acts and Public Records Acts are seen as fulfilling broader First Amendment values, by facilitating speech about how the government operates. But in Thursday's Roe v. Anderson (W.D. Wash. Oct. 23, 2014), a federal district judge relied on the First Amendment to block a state public records request.

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Religion or Speech? Students, Teachers Differ on Most Important First Amendment Freedom

High school students and their teachers differ on which of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment are the most important, but speech and religion are by far the top finishers, according to a new survey.

Students, by 65 percent, say speech is the most important freedom guaranteed, while 25 percent of students say religion is the most important right. A plurality of 42 percent of teachers believe freedom of religion is most important, while 40 percent of teachers say speech is the most important right guaranteed under the First Amendment.

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Gene Policinski: ‘When’ and ‘why’ we need to hear 911 calls

Opinion from The Californian: The word “restraint” and the First Amendment usually exist in uneasy tension.

The 45 words of the First Amendment don’t include it. The Pentagon Papers case in 1971 settled the issue of “prior restraint” by the government on what the press may publish: Nothing doing.

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Gene Policinski: John Doe cast tests press freedom

From Portage Daily Register: The First Amendment is very clear in its 45 words that it protects a “free press” along with our rights to religious freedom, free speech and the rights to assemble and petition.

But the founders, in effect, placed a responsibility on that free press in return for being the only profession named in the Bill of Rights: The news media were to be a “watchdog on government,” providing us with the facts, perspective and sometimes contrarian views that help citizens better chart the course of their government.

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Media coalition urges better protection of First Amendment rights in NSA, FISA court matters

From Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 36 other news media organizations, filed public comments calling on the president’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies to more carefully balance the secrecy sometimes required in national security investigations with the public’s right to know what its government is doing.

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First Amendment expert named to Florida legislative panel on transparency

From The Florida Senate:  Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) today announced the appointment of Barbara A. Petersen, President of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation, to a legislative panel that will evaluate and recommend how to provide better public access to state financial records and contracts.

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