Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"The Court of Appeal’s ruling overturned the District Court’s ruling and declared that Cox was a journalist and therefore protected by the freedom of speech laws and the First Amendment."

NOW as a Matter of Law and Case Precedence, Due to the Crystal Cox Case ALL Bloggers are Legally Protected to Break the News and Report the News just as any main stream, institutional press Journalist, no matter who they work for.


by Thomas Halek

"The opinions of the courts decide whether a blogger is a journalist and afforded the rights provided under the First Amendment.


Dr. Anthony Curtis, Mass Communication Dept., University of North Carolina at Pembroke, in an article titled What is Journalism said, “Journalism is the practice of investigating and reporting events, issues and trends to the mass audiences of print, broadcast and online media such as newspapers, magazines and books, radio and television stations and networks, and blogs and social and mobile media.”


How the courts have ruled on whether a blogger is a journalist and protected by the First Amendment has varied. In a paper titled, The Future of Online Legal Journalism, written by Christopher J. Davey, the Director of Public Information for the Supreme Court of Ohio, said, “The court speaks only through their opinions.” In the paper, Davey describes how the legal system’s view of on-line journalism has grown and changed since 1964 and the consequences because of it.


On Mashable.com a headline reads, “Judge Hits Blogger With $2.5 Million Charge for Not Being a Journalist.” The case is OBSIDIAN FINANCE GROUP v. CRYSTAL COX. In The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer published an article U.S. Court: Bloggers Are Journalists. In the article, Meyer describes the case and the United States Court of Appeals For the Ninth Circuit ruling.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling overturned the District Court’s ruling and declared that Cox was a journalist and therefore protected by the freedom of speech laws and the First Amendment.


Emeritus Professor James Pielemeier, a retired law professor from Hamline University, in an interview said, “It did seem to me that there was a trend towards treating bloggers like journalists in some areas, such as statutory Reporter’s Privileges (e.g. about confidential sources), at least if the statutory language arguably permitted such a result.” Pielemeier also said, “In general, there seemed to be a trend towards treating bloggers like journalists in other areas of first amendment law.”

Source and Full Article; Check it Out.

A MAJOR Federal Victory by Blogger Crystal Cox paves the way for ALL Bloggers to Be Protected in a Court of Law to REPORT the "NEWS".

"In contrast, media resides in a legal framework that is deeply valued and protected. Since before theFirst Amendment of the Constitution was ratified as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, America stood out for its high tolerance of free speech and legal protection of the press. 

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost," wrote Thomas Jefferson to Dr. James Currie in 1786. 

Liberty was to be more valued than the dangers of defamation, a lesson that President Jefferson would learn for himself when mud began to be slung his way.

James Madison, 1st Amendment advocate/Wikipedia
That freedom and its supporting structures have become the air we breathe, ingrained institutionally and psychologically with the public and legally within our country's basic body of law.
Bloggers and website hosts can be thankful for their extensive protection from defamation lawsuits, like the attempts by former franchisor Mark Golob and personal injury attorney Nikolaus Reed, to two seismic events that have moved America farther down the road and further away from other countries in what it means to have a free press—New York Times Co. v. Sullivan andSection 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
Newspapers had been weighed down by libel lawsuits from southern states that had a chilling effect on journalists reporting about civil rights violators. 
They acted as a news deterrent because the press feared that they would incur a defamation lawsuit by those cast in an unflattering light. The 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling changed all that. According to Justice William Brennan in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling ofNew York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was to provide that "debate on public issues ... [should be] … uninhibited, robust, and wide-open." It created a "malice standard." It didn't matter if a journalist made errors in reporting. 
What mattered was if a report was reckless in its disregard of truth because of malice, which is difficult to prove.
The Civil Rights movement, Vietnam and then Watergate all eroded the public's faith in government and eventually corporate institutions. Enron, Arthur Anderson, AIG and Lehman Brothers only accelerated that distrust. 
For the sake of more open discussion and transparency, the public and the laws have greatly increased in toleration of attacks on reputations.
Then came Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Online host intermediaries like social media's Blue MauMau, Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot, UnhappyFranchisee or Yelp are not held liable for the writings and speech posted by others on their sites.
"I think Section 230 is the Internet equivalent of New York Times v Sullivan," says attorney Paul Steinberg. In essence, host providers of public forums are not liable for what people post on their site. "That fundamentally changed the game." Steinberg argues that social media couldn't exist without the legal protections of Section 230.
The win in the Superior Court of Mendocino County, California, by Sean Kelly comes just a few months after a major federal victory by another blogger."

Source and Full Article

For More

Bloggers all over the US are Rejoicing at the Ground Breaking Decision in the Crystal Cox Case. Now ALL Bloggers have Equal rights to REPORT the News and Break the NEWS. Equal to any mainstream Journalist or Reporter.

"On January 17, 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court issued its decision giving Cox the same protection as a journalist. Interestingly enough, the decision was based in part on the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The Court wrote, in part:
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: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.”

Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones.
Bloggers all over the US are rejoicing as are we.

The decision is short, so we are including it below the fold."

Source and Full Document

For More