Archives: First Amendment

Student Press Law Center

May 18, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment.

The Student Press Law Center is one of the most valuable legal resources in the field of journalism. The center keeps up with the many challenges to student press freedom throughout the country. It also offers advice to those who might be facing such a challenge. The web site has many resources for students, plus a good list of links to other organizations with the same interests.

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Students and the First Amendment

May 18, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, law.

A flurry of news reports – a good bit of hand-wringing – have appeared in the last couple of days about a new survey that shows that many high school students do not have much knowledge or regard for the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. A third of the students said the First Amendment goes “too far” in granting rights to Americans. Hodding Carter, the head of the Knight Foundation that sponsored the study, called the results “not only disturbing; they are dangerous. Ignorance about the basics of this free society is a danger to our nation’s future.”

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Who is a journalist?

May 18, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, law.

The world of online journalism fluttered a bit last week when the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided that the journalists subpoenaed in a federal investigation of the leaking of the name of a CIA agent in 2004 did not have any privilege to shield confidential sources. In a concurring opinion, Judge David Sentelle mentioned web logs and “bloggers” in his discussion of the problem of defining a journalist. That nod to bloggers, which seemed to equate them with journalists, was only incidental. The real question for Sentelle was, “Who is a journalist?” His logic is correct, but his conclusion is wrong.

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Daniel Moore – Artist, journalist . . . or both?

May 18, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | 1 Comment | Filed in: First Amendment, law.

The University of Alabama, where I taught for 25 years, has sued artist Daniel Moore saying that Moore’s paintings, many of which depicted memorable moments in Crimson Tide football history, violate the University’s trademark protections. Moore has responded with a suit against the University saying it is interferring with his business. Moore also makes a First Amendment claim. He says that what he does — observing a game, executing a painting, making prints and selling them — is no different from what a photojournalist for a newspaper does. The University, he says, does not charge the newspaper with trademark violations when it publishes pictures of the football game and sells its newspapers to the public. So why should it charge him? Why, indeed?

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Miller goes to jail; Cooper released by source

May 18, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, law.

This is a complex case that has been developing for many months. The Poynter Institute has put together a page of resources about this case. It also quotes its ethicist Bob Steele as saying, “I admire her fight on principle. I admire the spirit of journalistic independence. The result may be an additional traction point for the federal shield law cause.”

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Contracting the First Amendment

May 18, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, law.

One of the ideas this web site advocates — in addition to good journalism and good journalistic practices — is expanding the First Amendment. Unfortunately, there are too many people and organizations trying to do just the opposite. A recent example comes from a judge in Washington state who thinks that controlling campaign finances is more important than political advocacy and free speech.

Censorship pure and simple in Oak Ridge

May 18, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, law.

It is sad, frustrating and infuriating when you see people who should know better acting in ways that are just not very intelligent. That was the case this past week with the high school principal and school superintendent in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The principal confiscated copies of the school newspaper before they could be distributed because she objected to the subject of a couple of the articles in the current issue. She did not point to any errors the articles had made. She simply didn’t think her students needed to know about birth control.

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First things first

April 29, 2008 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment.

You won’t find too many partisan political statements on this blog unless they come from commenters. But there is one thing I believe in: the idea behind the First Amendment. People have the right to speak, write and think as they please. Jeremiah Wright, Pat Robertson, and anyone else in the public realm may say • Read More »