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 [...]
A timeline tracking the free expression concerns raised by emergency measures enacted to contain and manage the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.
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 [...]
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 [...]
Editors Note: This statement was first published by NCAC and Defending Rights and Dissent on July 17, 2020. It was re-published on July 30, 2020 to reflect new developments and 45 additional co-signatories. Unidentified federal law enforcement agents in Portland, Oregon, have detained protesters, whisking them away in unmarked cars. This shocking practice is evocative of repressive methods used by [...]
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 [...]
President Donald Trump is once again attempting to interfere with the publication of a book that he believes is critical of him. On June 16, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the June 23 release of The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, a book by John R. Bolton, Trump’s former national [...]
On June 15, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and PEN America joined in protesting Zoom’s decision to close the account of Humanitarian China, a U.S.-based nonprofit that promotes the development of human rights in China. Zoom acted at the request of Chinese officials who wanted to suppress a virtual meeting commemorating the [...]
Editors Note: NCAC, joined by 55 organizations, released the following statement on June 8, 2020. The American people have witnessed the bravery of health care providers and other essential workers who have put their lives on the line to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Now that we face another national crisis following the death of George Floyd, it is important to [...]
NCAC has signed three letters urging state and local officials to uphold First Amendment rights during the protests over the death of George Floyd. It has joined Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and 16 other press freedom, journalism, and civil liberties organizations in calling on Governors Tim Walz of Minnesota, Gavin Newsom of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York, and [...]
Free speech is under fire across the United States following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. The protests that have erupted in hundreds of communities have been met by police officers who often fail in their duty to uphold the First Amendment right to assemble for the purpose of demanding change. Television cameras have [...]
As millions of students and teachers adjust to virtual learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic, NCAC will offer teachers the opportunity to host virtual presentations on free speech and the First Amendment by guest speakers from our staff of experts.
Free Speech Is For Me aims to reverse the trend of free speech being pitted against advocacy for social change and equip a broad new range of individuals to challenge censorship, defend speech rights and champion freedom of expression for all activists.
Joan Bertin (former executive director, NCAC), Toni Morrison, Fran Lebowitz “The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages flourishing underground, essayists’ questions challenging authority never being posed, unstaged plays, canceled films—that thought is a nightmare. As [...]
NCAC proposes holding an open forum where GWHS students can talk about how they see and interpret the Arnautoff murals. We invite the San Francisco Board of Education to collaborate with us in presenting the forum.
The New Jersey legislature is considering an education bill that would redefine anti-Semitism so broadly as to infringe on protected speech.
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 [...]
Support for free speech is not a dogma never to be questioned. When white supremacists violently march in Charlottesville under the banner of “free speech” while NFL players are penalized for protesting the murder of unarmed black people, can one still insist that those of us standing up against racism and working towards a more equitable society should engage politely with racist ideologues?
When a nation built on broad protections for speech faces times of deep political division, it must draw a firm line between freedom of speech and violent conduct or disruptive behavior aimed at silencing others.
The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation will give its First Amendment Lifetime Achievement Award to Joan Bertin, longtime Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship.
NCAC has urged an Oklahoma board of education to rescind its policy of disciplining students who do not stand during the national anthem as students have the right to peaceful and non-disruptive political speech, which includes the right to protest.
“Blanket orders from the Trump Administration preventing the staffs and experts of federal agencies from communicating with the public send a chilling message that every governmental communication, no matter how routine or technical, will now be subject to a political litmus test."
Protests and criticism are one thing-- calls to defund a Wesleyan student newspaper over an op-ed go too far. Student government officers, and the newspaper itself, must do more to support free expression.
NCAC and FIRE weigh in on the controversy over the firing of LSU professor Teresa Buchanan, who reportedly told a number of jokes that some students found uncomfortable.
From Center for Constitutional Rights: Synopsis Blum v. Holder is a federal lawsuit challenging the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The plaintiffs are five longtime animal rights activists whose advocacy work has been chilled due to fear of being prosecuted as a terrorist under the AETA. ... Pushed through Congress by a powerful lobby [...]
Don’t mess with Abbe Klebanoff, the head of public services for Pennsylvania’s Lansdowne Public Library. She encouraged teens to create a music video called "Read It" to the music of Michael Jackson's song, "Beat It," and posted it on YouTube. What followed was predictable—Sony objected and took it down, claiming copyright infringement. The passionate Klebanoff, who spent weeks helping the teens [...]
The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: ProstitutionA proposed revision of the laws governing prostitution is a complicated and multi-faceted issue. Feminists for Free Expression advocates the decriminalization of prostitution. This paper sets forth why this ...
This morning, we took a moment to capture a bit of the action at Zuccotti Park in the wake of the late night, NYPD eviction of the encampment that had lasted almost two months. Here, a participant in the Occupy Wall Street movement talks about the judge's restraining order stating protestors must be allowed entrance to Zuccotti Park (pending a [...]
A New Jersey state law coming into effect today (Sept 1st) is considered the “toughest legislation against bullying in the nation”. It may, however, also prove to be dangerously overbroad and stifle student speech on a variety of topics. Called the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, the law was adopted in the aftermath of the suicide of a Rutgers University student [...]
Photo by rosipaw on Flicrk This week, Stephanie Mencimer at MotherJones.com reported on horrifying cases of harassment and suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin schools of Minnesota, in Rep. Michelle Bachman’s district. The article, published within days of a suit filed against the district by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has further mobilized advocates calling for expanded anti-bullying policies and [...]
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 [...]
NCAC is adding to the global community of artists and institutions calling for the immediate release of the renowned Ai Weiwei, one China's most innovative and socially engaged creators. He was arrested at Beijing Airport this week for "economic crimes", and he alleges that in 2009 the security police attacked and beat him. Check out our call to [...]
In response to the national outrage over the removal of artist David Wojnarowicz’ video Fire In My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery following pressure from the Catholic League and Republican Congressional leaders, the Smithsonian Board of Regents formed an Advisory Panel*.
Policing The Sacred, organized by the National Coalition Against Censorship, looks at the volatile relationship between art, politics and religion.In recent decades the tensions between these have become intense, evident in the American culture wars of the 90s, the Danish cartoon uproar, and ongoing battles over artistic depictions of religious figures, including the recent removal of a David Wojnarowicz video from a show at the National Portrait Gallery. The panel, open to the public, takes place on Wednesday, February 9th, from 12:30-2 PM.