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January 21, 2014

Court Rules Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Protections As Traditional Media

Topics: Political News and commentaries

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Good news for bloggers, and a big step in the right direction ... the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed in a unanimous verdict that bloggers are entitled to the same first amendment protections as traditional media:

[...] A Jan. 17 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reaffirmed that the First Amendment's guarantee of press freedom applies to bloggers on the Internet and not just professional journalists employed by the institutional media. In the case of Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox, the court ruled that a financial services firm suing a blogger had to meet the same standard of proof of actual malice and negligence as would be necessary if they were suing a traditional news organization.

"The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others' writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable," Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote in the unanimous opinion.

Read more here.

Eugene Volokh, who represented the defendant in the case, offers more on the decision at The Volokh Conspiracy.

Posted by Hyscience at January 21, 2014 10:40 PM

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