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Officer Down

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Attorney: Court ruling for bloggers a free speech victory for everyone

--Great news for those of us in the Blogosphere--

-Illinois Watchdog-

By Benjamin Yount | Watchdog Radio

CHICAGO — If you think you can use lawsuits to silence a citizen journalist, think again.
A federal appeals court in Chicago last week dismissed a lawsuit brought by a hotel owner who went after a political blog, Illinois Review, for publishing a story that showed a former lawmaker’s attempts to lower property tax rates for political contributors. Illinois Review reported that the hotel owner, Satkar Hospitality Inc., was one of those contributors.

Peter Breen, an attorney for the free speech advocate the Thomas More Society, said when the court tossed out the hotel owner’s lawsuit, and last week the appeal, the judges made a clear statement about the rights of even citizen journalists to speak truth to power.

“The entire point (of the lawsuit) was to harass the citizen journalists at Illinois Review,” Breen told Illinois Watchdog Radio. “This was a bombastic complaint. It was clear that it was meant merely as a political harassment tool, and not a real complaint.”

Breen said the ruling is a victory for all new media, and citizen journalists. But he said bloggers and even folks with Twitter or Facebook accounts need a few more protections under Illinois’ Citizen’s Participation law.

Listen to to the full conversation between Breen and Illinois Watchdog Radio’s Benjamin Yount.

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