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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, September 10, 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.) The 'Right to Be Forgotten,' Globally? How Google Is Fighting to Limit the Scope of Europe's Privacy Law

In the European Union, laws governing free speech and the right to be forgotten may have implications for the rest of the globe.

The right to be forgotten is actually the right to be delisted on websites and search engines. The issue became in a major topic in the EU after a Spanish man successfully sued to have information about himself removed from the search engine Google. Now, the legal question of where free speech and censorship ends and privacy begins for those providing the information is being questioned.

A global player such as Google or Facebook serves people around the world, so if it has to radically revamp its privacy systems to meet its legal obligations in Europe, it makes sense for it to offer the same privacy-enhancing settings to users in the U.S. and elsewhere.

2.) Free speech issues rise in race for Senate

The senate race in Texas between and Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Beto O’Rourke has raised questions about each candidates’ views on free speech.

The Cruz campaign posted a clip of Democrat O’Rourke’s alleged support of the American Flag. The representative has yet to directly address the incident, but has previously given his support of Americans’ right to protest.

With issues of free speech getting new attention in the race, John Moritz of USA Today Network noted that Cruz supported unpopular speech in remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year.

"The First Amendment is not about opinions that are right or reasonable," Cruz told the committee, during a hearing about censorship on college campuses. "The First Amendment is about opinions that you passionately disagree with and the right of others to express them," Cruz said.

3.) Judge to rule on free-speech case of political signs in Alaska

The ACLU, along with two others, is challenging a political sign law in Anchorage, Alaska.

The organization, along with Dunleavy for Alaska and Eric Siebels, a resident with a large sign supporting Dunleavy for Alaska, says asking them to remove political signs is a violation of their right to free speech. Signs are only required to be removed if they are a danger to drivers.

“Political speech is a special category of free speech that is entitled to heightened protection as there is no right more fundamental in a democracy than the right of a citizen to express his or her political views without fear of censure or sanction by the government,” the lawsuit said.

Siebels says his signs are several feet away from roads and behind a fence, and in no way harming drivers.

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