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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, October 07, 2019

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: October 7, 2019

Bliss Davis, Content Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: October 7, 2019

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.) 'Fake News' Law Goes Into Effect In Singapore, Worrying Free Speech Advocates

In Singapore, a law intended to crack down on "fake news" went into effect Wednesday, much to the dismay of free speech advocates and journalists.

The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, which passed the country's parliament in May, requires online platforms — including social networking, search engine and news aggregation services — to issue corrections or remove content that the government deems false. Media companies that fail to comply face a fine of up to a 1 million Singapore dollars (about $722,000).

Individuals found guilty of violating the law, both inside and outside the tiny Southeast Asian country, could face fines of up to $60,000 or prison for up to 10 years. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong defended the bill when it passed, calling it a step in the right direction.

2.) Adam Silver supports free speech rights of Rockets GM Daryl Morey

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Monday the league backs the free speech rights of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. Silver, speaking to Kyodo News in Tokyo, acknowledged the impact of Morey's quote, which supported anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

"There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear," Silver said. "There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have."

"I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear ... that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression."

Silver spoke ahead of an exhibition game between the Rockets and Toronto Raptors on Tuesday in Saitama, Japan. Morey on Friday posted a tweet with an image that read: "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong." He later deleted the post and tweeted an apology. That after Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta publicly clarified the team does not take political positions.

3.) Atheist Free Speech Suit Against Arkansas Official Proceeds

Members of an atheist group have a “fair chance of prevailing” in their lawsuit against an Arkansas state senator whom they accuse of violating their free speech rights by blocking them from leaving comments on his work-related Facebook and Twitter posts, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday allowed the American Atheists group’s lawsuit against Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert to proceed to trial, though she denied the group’s request to issue an injunction that would have forced Rapert to immediately unblock the group, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

The plaintiffs argue that as an elected official, Rapert’s posts are a public forum that should be accessible to them. Rapert argues that the First Amendment also protects his right as a private citizen to shut out those who respond with personal attacks or bullying.

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