|The Latest First Amendment and Freedom News from Sources around the Country and World|
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January 31, 2012
Widening the Illinois eavesdropping laws Some lawmakers want to give Illinois residents the right to record police officers. Illinois has one of the toughest eavesdropping laws in the country. As it stands, police and businesses can record citizens, but citizens can not record them back. (WBEZ)
Stolen Valor Act upheld on appeal The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals this morning upheld the Stolen Valor Act, which makes lying about having received military awards a federal crime. (Denver Post)
Police Supt. McCarthy Comes Out Against Eavesdropping Act It is illegal to record a conversation with a police officer if you get pulled over or have a run-in, but police Supt. Garry McCarthy says that should change. (CBS2)
Twitter To Censor Tweets In Some Countries
Twitter announced Thursday that the company now has the ability to censor tweets on a country-by-country basis, allowing the popular microblogging site to comply with local governments' request to remove or block certain content.
Critics fear Twitter's new policy will hinder free speech Twitter has promoted itself as a beacon of free speech, and that image was burnished when revolutionaries used the social media service to organize protests during last year's Arab Spring uprising. (LAT)
MBTA to bar alcohol ads on all property, including trains, buses
The MBTA will no longer allow alcohol advertisement on its property, including in subway cars, trains and buses, starting July 1, a spokesman for the transit agency said today.
Paid protesters a new force in school closings debate Chicago Public Schools has been holding hearings on its proposed school closings. There’s a new dynamic in the hearings this year: busloads of protesters being paid by pastors who support school closings. (WBEZ)
Ministers call paying protesters unusual Reacting to allegations that “rent-a-protesters” packed recent school closing hearings, two ministers said Tuesday it is not common practice for Chicago clergy to pay people to attend hearings or “training.” (CST)
School watchdog probes reports of paid protesters The Chicago Public Schools inspector general said Wednesday he is investigating reports that bused protesters were paid to carry signs or read scripts at school closing hearings. (CST)
Imagine His Shock. His Leg Had Vanished. An advertising agency for the city’s health department obtained the rights to use the photo to illustrate its campaign — shown throughout the subway system — against supersize portions of fast food and sugary sodas. To emphasize that consuming too much of those foods could lead to diabetes and the amputation of limbs, the agency edited away the lower half of Mr. Berry’s right leg and conjured up a pair of crutches. (NYT)
S.C. county to pay almost $600K to settle jail-censorship suit The group that publishes a monthly newsletter for inmates says it has reached the largest jail-censorship lawsuit settlement ever with a prison.(FAC)
Sikh group sues over Jay Leno’s Romney joke Leno showed a photo of a glittering gold building and said it was Republican presidential candidate Romney’s summer home. The building in the photograph is the Golden Temple, the holiest site in the Sikh religion.(FAC)
Ark. newspaper objects to video ban at council meetings The publishers of an Izard County newspaper are questioning a new measure approved by the Calico Rock City Council that bans video recordings of council meetings. (AP)Press
Lawmaker pushes for bill to shield child witnesses and testimony from media Raising the ire of First Amendment defenders and the support of child advocates, a bill before state lawmakers would ban the media from identifying witnesses in a criminal trial who are under the age of 18. (Gatehouse News Service)Religion
House OKs religious symbols at military memorials The House yesterday passed two bills endorsing the use of religious symbols at military memorials. One writes into law the propriety of displaying religious markers at war memorials, while the other orders that the Interior Department add to the World War II Memorial in Washington a plaque with Franklin Roosevelt’s prayer to the nation on D-Day. (AP)
6th Circuit reinstates student’s lawsuit against university A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit filed by a woman who contends she was kicked out of a master’s degree program at Eastern Michigan University because of her opposition to homosexuality. (AP)
Bloomberg blasts use of movie during NYPD training
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that New York police used “terrible judgment” in showing counterterrorism trainees a documentary-style film that says Muslim extremists are masquerading as moderates to destroy America from within.
Arrests in Oakland protests rise to more than 400 Crews cleaned up Oakland's historic City Hall on Sunday from damage inflicted overnight during violent anti-Wall Street protests that resulted in about 400 arrests, marking one of the largest mass arrests since nationwide protests began last year. (Reuters)
Federal judge denies effort to block abortion protester A judge last week denied the federal government’s request to keep a longtime anti-abortion protester from being able to stop cars and talk to drivers as they enter Denver’s Planned Parenthood center. (AP)
Idaho House votes to boot Occupy Boise from state grounds Idaho House members voted 54-16 this week to boot Occupy Boise protesters from state-managed ground near the Capitol building. (AP)
Protesters vow to stand their ground at Occupy DC camp
U.S. Park Police began enforcing a ban Monday on camping in two Washington parks, with Occupy protesters at one site defiantly huddling under a large blue tarp that they dubbed the "tent of dreams."
Sixth Circuit extends Hazelwood to colleges, universities A federal appeals court on Friday extended the censorship-friendly Hazelwood student expression standard to public colleges and universities, while allowing a former counseling student’s First Amendment lawsuit to go forward. (SPLC)
Student loses case involving religious message in speech A school district in Craryville, N.Y., did not violate a former middle school student’s First Amendment rights when the principal told her to omit religious sentiments from her speech at a graduation-type event, a federal court has ruled. (FAC)
Supreme Court will hear Atlantic High School strip search case
The Iowa Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of the case involving the strip search of female students at Atlantic High School. The high court will review an October decision from the Iowa Court of Appeals, which ruled 2-1 that the Atlantic Community School District did not have to release the type of discipline taken against an assistant principal and guidance counselor responsible for improperly strip-searching the teenage girls.
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