Thursday, February 23, 2012

Protect Your Voice - Stand For Equal Rights of Citizen Journalists. Bloggers are Bringing you MORE of the Real Story. Bloggers SHOULD have Equal Rights as Journalists when Bloggers are Doing the Same Things. Bloggers Rights. Freedom of Speech, Equality for ALL. Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

"Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, recently wrote a Washington Examiner op-ed regarding the free speech threats which bloggers and other citizen journalists increasingly face.
This past December, federal judge Marco Hernandez of Oregon issued a ruling in the libel trial of Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox that has dangerous First Amendment implications.
Hernandez ruled that blogger Crystal Cox was not entitled to the same protection under media shield laws that other members of the press enjoy. This ruling made it easy for a jury to find her guilty of libel. That result threatens the First Amendment rights of all citizen-journalists.
With the Internet increasingly serving as the dominant source of information, a national debate has been taking place asking the question, who is a journalist? Legal scholars, journalism academics and First Amendment advocates all have their opinions and as expected, there is little agreement.
But why is this issue so complicated? Bloggers, like all citizens of the United States, have First Amendment rights. Has the definition of a journalist changed? Or has perception and therefore legal definition simply not adjusted to modern technology?
According to Professor Kyu Ho Youm of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, Judge Hernandez “ruled correctly” in the Cox case. But he also acknowledges that the ruling was based on his “textual interpretation” and that “pre-Internet law needs updating.”
Youm offers a wake-up call to state legislators. Media shield laws must be revised to make clear that bloggers and all citizen-journalists deserve the same protection as the city hall beat-writer at the local newspaper.
This is especially important, as technology and new economic realities have forced newspapers all over the country to cut staff drastically and in many cases, close up shop. The public now relies on citizen-journalists to perform an invaluable service to our democracy — serving as government watchdogs.
First Amendment protects bloggers, too
Jason Stverak
February 18, 2012
The Washington Examiner"

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