free speech

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America, Give Your Pastor the Finger With Impunity

Court overturns man's conviction for flipping the bird in church

(Newser) - Georgia's highest court has reversed the conviction of a man who was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after he held up his middle finger and shouted at his pastor during a service, the AP reports. The unanimous opinion issued Monday says David Freeman's behavior amounts to speech... More »

Wisconsin Mom Says Swearing at Son Is Free Speech

Ginger Breitzman is appealing jail sentence

(Newser) - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is deciding whether a mother's profane tirade against her 14-year-old son for burning popcorn amounted to free speech. Ginger Breitzman, 44, argued this week that her language wasn't inciting violence or a true threat and therefore is protected speech, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.... More »

Trump's Twitter Blocks Violate First Amendment: Advocacy Group

Free-speech advocacy group says excluding people is 'unconstitutional'

(Newser) - Blocking people on Twitter is a feature many use liberally to keep their feeds friendly. But should public officials like President Trump be allowed to exclude users in the same fashion? Absolutely not, says the Knight First Amendment Institute, a non-partisan group founded last year at Columbia University that's... More »

Man Fined $4K for Giving the Thumbs-Up on Facebook

Could be a first in Switzerland, or anywhere

(Newser) - Be careful what you like online, especially if you're in Switzerland—it may get you in trouble for defamation. In what Fortune reports could be a first, a court there has fined an unidentified man the equivalent of more than $4,000 after he liked defamatory comments on Facebook... More »

Comments on God Could Spell Trouble for Stephen Fry

Irish police are investigating Fry's 2015 interview for blasphemy

(Newser) - Funnyman Stephen Fry may be in hot water in Ireland for comments made during an interview where he candidly calls out someone not to be trifled with on the Emerald Isle: God. Irish police are investigating Fry's February 2015 interview on the RTÉ show The Meaning of Life as... More »

Coulter Supporters Rally After Berkeley No-Show

Even some opponents voiced free-speech concerns

(Newser) - Ann Coulter didn't turn up in Berkeley Thursday night, where hundreds held a raucous but largely peaceful demonstration in her absence and lamented what they called the latest blow to free speech in the home of America's free speech movement. The conservative pundit's canceled appearance at the... More »

Government Wants Info on Anti-Trump Twitter Account

Twitter has sued the government to protect the anonymous user

(Newser) - Twitter has sued the federal government after US Customs and Border Protection demanded user information for an account critical of the Trump administration, the Verge reports. Multiple Twitter accounts claiming to be run by disillusioned members of various government agencies sprung up following Trump's inauguration. One of them, @ALT_uscis... More »

Violent Protests Shut Down Milo Berkeley Talk

Yiannopoulos accuses left of being scared of free speech

(Newser) - A talk by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California-Berkeley had to be called off Wednesday night as protesters smashed windows, ignited fireworks, and chucked bricks and Molotov cocktails. The university blamed the violence on 150 "masked agitators" it accused of disrupting otherwise peaceful protests against the... More »

Court: No, You Can't Curse in Spanish on Your Vanity Plate

Free speech does not cover Maryland man's right to MIERDA

(Newser) - An appeals court has ruled that Maryland officials did not violate a driver's right to free speech by recalling a vanity license plate that displayed an offensive Spanish word. The Maryland Court of Appeals unanimously decided Friday that the words conveyed on a state-issued license plate constitute "private... More »

After Newspaper Endorses Clinton, Death Threats

'Arizona Republic' continues to fight for free speech with 'compassion,' 'bravery': publisher

(Newser) - Meet Kimberly, Nicole, and Phil. They're on staff at the Arizona Republic, per a Sunday editorial written by Mi-Ai Parrish, the conservative newspaper's publisher. And they're the ones who've been dealing with the vitriol and calls for violence since the Republic endorsed Hillary Clinton for president... More »

Game Developer Sues Online 'Harassers' for $18M

Digital Homicide founders say they've been stalked, harassed, and threatened online

(Newser) - Carping about a video game online to other players may be routine in the gaming world, but being sued by the game's developer isn't. But that's what may be in store for some online commenters who complained about Arizona's Digital Homicide Studios, a game-maker founded by... More »

Parents Furious After NC Teacher Tramples Flag

Lee Francis has been suspended; some want him fired

(Newser) - A history teacher says his lesson on free speech came with the unintended caveat that free speech isn't always guaranteed after it landed him a suspension. Students at Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville, NC, say Lee Francis was discussing a court case that determined flag desecration was... More »

Sheriff Raids House to Find Online Critic

'If you're gonna lie about me ... I'm gonna come after you'

(Newser) - Jerry Larpenter, sheriff of Louisiana's Terrebonne Parish, appears to have launched a crackdown—on critics of Jerry Larpenter. The Intercept reports that six of Larpenter's deputies raided another police officer's home this week in a bid to find the author of the ExposeDAT blog, which calls itself... More »

Online Threats Against Cops Lead to Numerous Arrests

And that's bringing up free-speech concerns

(Newser) - People around the country are being arrested for anti-cop social media posts in the wake of last week's violence, and that's raising questions about the limits of free speech. A Connecticut man was charged with inciting injury when he called for the killing of police in a Facebook... More »

Man's Flag Burning Fires Up Internet, Gets Him Arrested

But it wasn't Bryton Mellott's free-speech exercise alone that brought the heat

(Newser) - In almost 30 years, the Urbana Police Department hasn't had to enforce a flag desecration statute on the books, but that changed Monday with the arrest of a 22-year-old Illinois man, Forbes reports. Bryton Mellott posted pictures on Facebook Sunday showing him burning the American flag (only one image... More »

Planned Parenthood Foe Sued for Being Too Loud

He's facing a restraining order and $5,000 fine

(Newser) - Maine's attorney general said Tuesday that she has sued a protester who she says yelled so loudly outside a Planned Parenthood facility that he disrupted health care services there. Janet Mills filed the complaint against Brian Ingalls, 26, under the state's civil rights act. Mills said he violated... More »

Judge: Hotel Sex Parties Are Not Free Speech

A hotel owner sued a Connecticut town and police force and lost

(Newser) - A small Connecticut community that Patch.com reports is ranked 31st in the state for its number of Ashley Madison users (more than 5%) is making the news again, this time for prevailing in a lawsuit brought on by the owner of a hotel that allegedly hosted sex parties visible... More »

Court: No, YouTube Didn't Have to Dump Anti-Muslim Flick

Actress wanted 'Innocence of Muslims' yanked after death threats

(Newser) - In a victory for free speech advocates, a federal appeals court says YouTube should not have been forced to take down an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in the Middle East and death threats to actors. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling in favor of Google... More »

Let's Not Glorify Pamela Geller

Kathleen Parker: She isn't celebrating free speech, she's abusing it

(Newser) - Pamela Geller, the provocateur who organized the Muhammad cartoon contest that led to claims of the first ISIS attack on US soil, would have us believe that she's a stout defender of free speech. How sad the Founding Fathers must be, writes Kathleen Parker at the Washington Post . After... More »

Kansas Might Make It Easier to Prosecute Teachers

Educators may soon be on the hook for using 'harmful materials' in lesson plans

(Newser) - Kansas Democrats said they were caught "unprepared" by a discussion on a controversial bill, and now it's too late to make any amendments before it goes to a final vote. Senate Bill 56 would make it easier to prosecute teachers and school administrators in Kansas who use "... More »

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