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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Monday, March 05, 2018


Bliss Davis, Content Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland


As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.

1.) InfoWars' main YouTube channel is two strikes away from being banned

The video platform YouTube is enforcing the parameters on what it considers acceptable speech by users. Far-right commentator Alex Jones’ channel has been given a strike for violating the platform’s policy on harassment and bullying. The channel published a video titled, “David Hogg Can’t Remember His Lines In TV Interview” insinuating Hogg, a survivor of the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida is a paid actor.

"Last summer we updated the application of our harassment policy to include hoax videos that target the victims of these tragedies," said a YouTube spokesperson. "Any video flagged to us that violates this policy is reviewed and then removed."

YouTube’s posting policy states an account receiving two strikes in a three-month period cannot post for two weeks. Athird,and the account will be terminated.

2.) Georgia Lawmakers Punish Delta Air Lines Over NRA Feud

Constitution and law experts have raised concerns over the state of Georgia’s response to Delta Airlines’ announcement that it would end discounts for NRA members.

Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle tweeted, “ I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.” The legislation he is referring to is a $38 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel. Days after the tweet, the state Senate committee passed their tax bill without the tax break included with a 44-10 vote. The final bill will now have to reach an agreement in both the House and Senate before it is sent to the governor.

According to experts, corporations do have first amendments rights. If the state of Georgia punishes a corporation for expressing views it does not agree with, the move could be considered unconstitutional.

Delta is Georgia’s largest private employer, employing 33,000 workers across the state.

3.) RJ Wins First Amendment Decision on October 1 Autopsies

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has won a lawsuit stating that reporting autopsiesis a first amendment right. Specifically, the paper urged they had the right to publish the autopsy reports of victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.

The suit came about after victims’ families stepped forward saying there should be restraint in what is reported in media outlets.

Attorney Maggie McLetchie argued journalists have the responsibility to report events in full detail. According to the paper, the facts of an event alone do not constitute sensationalism, and, in fact, are facts that are readily available. The judge sided with the paper saying since this information is available from the coroner, restricting the paper from publishing these facts would be violating its free speech rights.

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