1st Amendment

The George Floyd Protests: A Free Expression Timeline

By |2020-09-18T13:01:41-04:00September 15th, 2020|News|

This timeline tracks free expression issues that arose following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020. It is a working document that will be updated to reflect new developments. If you have something to add, please use our Report Censorship form. 5/25/20 George Floyd Killed by [...]

NCAC Urges Congress Not to Authorize FISA Anti-Privacy Provisions

By |2020-09-15T16:27:03-04:00September 15th, 2020|News|

NCAC has joined a coalition of two dozen organizations calling on Congressional leaders not to reauthorize several expired provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorities by adding them as amendments to a must-pass appropriations bill or other emergency legislation. In a letter sent to Congress on September 14, NCAC and the other organizations argue that these controversial measures [...]

Court Decision Limits School Officials’ Ability to Punish Student Use of Social Media

By |2020-08-17T14:12:38-04:00August 13th, 2020|News|

One of the most common complaints of students who come to NCAC for assistance is that they have been threatened with discipline for something that they said on social media. In an important decision that greatly reduced the power of school officials to “reach into a child’s home and control his/her actions” and speech, a panel of the Third Circuit [...]

Alaska Community Unites in Opposition to Book Ban

By |2020-09-15T12:31:31-04:00July 17th, 2020|News|

When a school board in Alaska voted in April to remove five classic books from a high school reading list, it had no idea that it would outrage many in the community as well as several alumni of the school who are now rock stars. Although the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough School Board reversed its decision a month later, the controversy [...]

Georgia High School Punishes Students Over Social Media Photos

By |2020-09-10T11:07:40-04:00July 6th, 2020|News|

On August 3 and 4, two students at North Paulding High School in Dallas, GA, posted pictures to social media showing students in crowded hallways where social distancing was clearly impossible. Most students were not wearing masks. Unsurprisingly, the pictures immediately became a topic of discussion in the national media. In response, the school suspended the students on the grounds [...]

NCAC Opposes Removal of Mural Depicting Slavery

By |2020-07-27T11:47:28-04:00June 24th, 2020|News|

NCAC is asking the University of Kentucky (UK) to cancel recently announced plans to remove a 1930’s-era mural depicting aspects of Kentucky history, including slavery. Some students have demanded its removal because they consider it demeaning to people of color on campus. In 2018, the university commissioned an installation by Karyn Olivier, a noted Black artist, that was painted above [...]

Libel Judgment Threatens Free Speech on College Campuses

By |2020-07-27T11:42:27-04:00June 17th, 2020|News|

NCAC has joined several free speech organizations in supporting Oberlin College’s appeal of a $44 million libel judgment that threatens the free speech rights of its faculty and students. They filed an amicus brief in an Ohio appeals court on June 5. The case grew out of the arrest of three African American students in 2016 for attempted theft at [...]

Vermont Principal Removed for Statement on Black Lives Matter

By |2020-07-15T17:42:40-04:00June 16th, 2020|News|

WINDSOR, VT -- The Mt. Ascutney School District Board has removed Windsor School Principal Tiffany Riley from her position after she stated on her personal Facebook account that she disapproved of some of the tactics used by some Black Lives Matter activists. In response, NCAC has written to the school board urging them to rescind their decision to remove Ms. [...]

Social Media Under Pressure Part I: Trump Lashes out at Twitter

By |2020-06-19T16:40:11-04:00June 5th, 2020|Blog, News|

Rhetorically framed as defense of free speech, the President’s Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship, is exactly the opposite: an attempt to intimidate social media platforms into yielding to the president’s views of what speech should be allowed online. While we agree that social media platforms “function in many ways as a 21st-century equivalent of the public square” and share [...]

Truth to Power: Film Contest Winners and Semi-Finalists

By |2019-06-24T14:13:05-04:00June 18th, 2019|Blog|

Over 100 teen filmmakers spoke Truth to Power for this year’s YFEP Film Contest. We invited teens to speak directly to those in power to lead change about issues that matter to them. The 12 finalist films tackled a wide range of polarizing, and often taboo, topics including gun violence, immigrant family separation, gender equality, toxic masculinity, shaming and [...]

Turn It Off, Dammit! — Opposition to Film Screening

By |2020-01-03T13:47:44-05:00June 11th, 2012|Blog|

Turn Me On, Dammit!, an indie Norwegian film about a 15-year-old girl’s struggling with her burgeoning sexuality and dealing with high school tensions, has been widely acclaimed by critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet, controversy led to the cancellation of a screening in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the film was scheduled to be shown as part of the Arts [...]

Reassessing “Decency”

By |2020-01-03T13:42:53-05:00July 1st, 2011|Blog|

On Monday, June 27th, the Supreme Court announced that upon returning from its summer recess in October, it would revisit the Federal Communication Commission's rule that allows it to fine broadcasters for “indecency.” Last year, the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC was violating broadcasters' free-speech rights. The Court also stated that [...]

Sorrell Means Business

By |2020-01-03T13:42:53-05:00June 29th, 2011|Blog|

Last week’s Supreme Court decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc.  signified a subtle yet important shift in commercial speech interpretation that may precede increased corporate strength in the legal arena.  The opinion, by Justice Kennedy, argues that Vermont did not have grounds to ban pharmaceutical data-mining as it is a form of non-deceptive commercial information-sharing that is [...]

Free to Speak or Free to Seize?

By |2020-01-03T13:42:48-05:00June 24th, 2011|Blog|

A recent surge in vulnerability to search and seizure, despite protection under the Fourth Amendment, is creating a climate of fear of punishment for constitutional free expression.  Multiple stories this week share the theme of government interpretation of the Fourth Amendment infringing on the rights of the public.  If professionals and the public must live in fear of [...]

Guest Blog: John Davis Malloy on the Smithsonian After Hide/Seek

By |2020-01-03T13:40:44-05:00May 11th, 2011|Blog|

It’s true that the Smithsonian’s Flashpoints and Faultlines forum was too late for Hide/Seek, but keeping the issues alive months after the exhibit closed may be the right timing for the future of this public institution. It was no surprise that in his welcoming remarks Wayne Clough described himself as having no choice but to censor the artwork.  Less expected [...]

WEAR IT PROUD

By |2020-01-03T13:40:08-05:00March 28th, 2011|Blog|

Button brought back from the March 2011 Culture Wars symposium with the Corcoran and Transformer DC.

Democracy Now: Journalist Searched On Return From Haiti

By |2020-01-03T13:39:06-05:00February 15th, 2011|Blog|

Democracy Now! reports the Obama administration is continuing the Bush regime's policy of directing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to search and copy computers, smartphones, cameras, and hard drives of "listed" Americans returning to the United States. ACLU (NCAC member!) staff attorney Catherine Crump says "many journalists and lawyers who often work abroad have also experienced similar interrogations." The ACLU [...]

US Government, Sponsor of Book Censorship

By |2016-01-14T12:56:34-05:00January 24th, 2011|Blog|

NCAC occasionally publishes guest blogs on topics related to free speech. The views in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official position of NCAC, however they raise important issues for discussion. By Vel Nirtist How do you keep the unwashed masses known as the "public" from highly prestigious and quite remunerative pursuit known as "public debate" which rightly belongs [...]

Waterbury CT School District Attempts to Cancel August Wilson Play

By |2019-03-07T21:45:25-05:00January 18th, 2011|Blog|

Censorship continues full front attacks on all the arts. Two weeks into 2011, we've already seen censorship of David Wojnarowicz at the National Portrait Gallery; a new edition of Mark Twain's Huckelberry Finn hit the bookstores, without the N-word; the arrest of Belarus theater director Nikolai Khalezin of Belarus Free Theatre and now the Waterbury Connecticut school district is attempting [...]

New Museum Opens – Museum of Censored Art

By |2016-01-14T12:58:12-05:00January 12th, 2011|Blog|

On Thursday, January 13th, a new museum opens in Washington, DC: The Museum of Censored Art, founded by art and free speech activists Mike Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone. Mike and Mike are the iPad protesters, who were expelled from the National Portrait Gallery when they attempted to show David Wojnarowicz's video Fire In My Belly in the galleries of [...]

Author of the Banned Books Week Manifesto Censored!

By |2020-01-05T23:18:54-05:00September 17th, 2009|Blog|

Ellen Hopkins, author of numerous Young Adult titles as well as most recently, the Banned Books Week Manifesto is being censored in Norman, Oklahoma. Hopkins was scheduled to speak at Whittier Middle School on September 22nd about her experiences as an author writing about real life issues facing youth today. However, her talk was reportedly cancelled by the district's superintendent [...]

Land of Free Expression…? Map of Book Censorship in the USA Suggests Otherwise

By |2020-01-05T23:18:42-05:00August 13th, 2009|Blog|

Being so busy with campaigns promoting “freedom and democracy” in the Middle East and central Asia, it’s hardly surprising that most of us here in the United States are unaware of an archaic and abominable practice that continues here at home - book banning. The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP), a collaboration of NCAC and the American Booksellers Foundation [...]

Student Press Goes to Washington

By |2020-01-02T15:06:26-05:00December 23rd, 2008|Blog|

With what promises to be the most crowded inauguration in US history, SPLC has issued an advisory to student journalists planning on covering the event: The Student Press Law Center is advising college journalists who plan to cover events surrounding the Presidential Inauguration to be held January 20 in Washington, D.C., to take several precautionary steps to avoid being arrested [...]

NC State Update

By |2019-03-07T22:31:39-05:00December 15th, 2008|Blog|

An incident at North Carolina State University in early November involving hateful words directed at President-elect Obama has sparked debate on campus about the extent to which Hate Speech is Free Speech. The debate has apparently spread to the UNC  campus as well. ABC News, Chapel Hill reports: After the controversy over racist comments spray-painted in the Free Expression Tunnel [...]

Hate Speech is Free Speech

By |2020-01-02T15:33:24-05:00December 8th, 2008|Blog|

And yet not without consequences. After the November 4th election of Barack Obama, 4 North Carolina State students hit the “Free Expression Tunnel” to spray paint messages that have now sparked a fierce debate on campus about how to respond to hate speech. The messages, including one that read “let’s shoot that Nigger in the head”, have prompted strong response [...]

Scott Eckern: from the Commentariat

By |2020-01-02T15:32:55-05:00November 14th, 2008|Blog|

Comments from the blogosphere: wildrumpus 1 point Please login to rate. Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment. OK then. As a gay man in Michigan my reaction to this is: Wow, you got a $1000 donor to quit his job! What have you actually fixed other than punishing someone from exercising his 1st amendment [...]

Racism, Obama and free expression

By |2020-01-02T15:32:48-05:00November 12th, 2008|Blog|

The victory of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election has shown us signs of improving race relations in this country. Sadly this isn't the case some areas of the south where the election of the United States first black president have increased already high racial tensions. In North Carolina State University, four students spray-painted threatening and racist graffiti aimed at the [...]

ACLU sues school for violating First Amendment

By |2020-01-02T15:24:57-05:00November 12th, 2008|Blog|

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Fall Brook High School for violating free speech rights by getting rid of its journalism class and removing the faculty advisor to the school's newspaper after disputes over two articles. The first article was about the school board's refusal to close Fall Brook High School during the wildfires last year and [...]

NCAC Supports Foodspeak Coalition

By |2017-06-08T12:18:45-04:00May 1st, 1998|Blog|

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is an alliance of 48 national, non-commercial organizations, including religious, educational, professional, artistic, labor, and civil liberties groups. United by a conviction that freedom of thought, inquiry and expression must be defended, they work to educate their members and the public about the dangers of censorship and how to oppose it. NCAC opposes food [...]

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