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Court: bloggers have first amendment protections

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posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 04:04 PM
reply to post by Xcathdra

While we're screwing the dot, the yelling of fire in a crowded theatre details can be read here. 1st amendment says:

prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

So it says no restricting of speech, or press. Or being an important word there. Which translates so press and individuals have same basic protections and rights.

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 10:13 AM
Believe it or not, this worries me. There has to be an angle.

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 12:34 PM
Sent you a PM

reply to post by PsykoOps

You missed the Supreme Court Rulings that came after Schenck v. United States (1919). Anways as I stated, you and I are on the same page and in agreement. I am pointing out that this issue has been a long time in the making.

All cases dealing with Free Speech / Speech that causes a clear and imminent danger to other persons.
Abrams v. United States (1919)Gitlow v. New York (1925)
Whitney v. California (1927)
Dennis v. United States (1951)
Yates v. United States (1957)
Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)

You then have New York Times Co. v. United States
Also known as the Pentagon Papers -

Times v. United States is generally considered a victory for an extensive reading of the First Amendment, but as the Supreme Court ruled on whether the government had made a successful case for prior restraint, its decision did not void the Espionage Act or give the press unlimited freedom to publish classified documents.

While the Pentagon Papers apply to the release of classified documents, it never exempted journalists from prosecution. In the days of wikileaks, Snowden etc the release of that info came from a source other than main stream media outlets. That led to the debate on what protections are afforded to journalists / members of the press.

That in turn caused members of congress to try and define what a journalist is. Allowing a strict definition of a journalist would open the floodgates for the government to shut down outlets that don't meet the criteria, while at the same time it would most likely be used to chip away and the 1st amendment.

The latest court ruling in favor of the bloggers went a great deal towards applying the 1st amendment in a manner that takes electronic mediums into account.

Like I said, I understand and agree with what you are saying however its not as black and white as you are making it out to be.

Here is the latest incident that I am referring to about electronic reporting / blogging -
Connecticut mayor rips Hitler comparison on Facebook

NEW LONDON, Conn. – New London's mayor is demanding that a Facebook page be shut down after it posted a photo comparing him to Adolf Hitler.

The Day of New London reports that the administrator of the Whale Tales page said she did not believe the photo was inappropriate because it compared the speaking skills of Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio and Hitler. New London resident Kathleen Mitchell said both are "fiery orators."

Now, if the Supreme Court had not ruled on this topic, the poster of the message / comparison might have opened them up to legal / civil actions.

Personally I think the politician in the article should just sit down and shut up. The more he complains the more media outlets are going to look at the story and report on it.

Back to the op - In the age of electronics / advanced communications, we are going to see more of these cases climb the legal system. The Supreme Court rulings we have now, except for the latest, applies to areas other than electronics.

Exactly where is the standard when people at home blog, posting accusing information about someone or government entity, only to find out the information they blogged about is false?

The 1st amendment never accounted for electronics. The Supreme Court must do that, and so far are off to a good start with the most recent ruling.

I will say this again - You and I are in agreement about the first amendment application. I am simply pointing out that the path taken says nothing about electronics. Whats not specifically granted to the Feds, is reserved to the states. If there is no link with the ruling and electronics, one could argue / push legislation on defining a journalist.
edit on 21-1-2014 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)

edit on 21-1-2014 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 23 2014 @ 06:27 AM
I forgot to add one important issue so my apologies.

As noted above, journalists can be prosecuted for the release of classified documents. SCOTUS said as much in the Pentagon papers (espionage act).

If the espionage act is a valid tool to prosecute people who release classified information, then why would there need to be a push to define the term journalist? Since the espionage act can be applied to any person that violates it, regardless of career, there is no need to define what a journalist is.

What's the motive to define the term then?

I would wager it has nothing to do with National Security.
edit on 23-1-2014 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)

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