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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, November 04, 2019

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: November 4, 2019

Bliss Davis, Content and Programming Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: November 4, 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.) National Park Service withdraws proposal to make protesters pay for security

The National Park Service announced Monday it is withdrawing a proposal that could have made protesters repay the federal government for the cost of security at demonstrations.

Opponents said the measure would have saddled protest organizers with enormous costs, crippling their ability to protest and exercise their rights under the Constitution. The proposal would have affected gatherings on the Mall, at President’s Park, around the White House and on other federal land in the Washington area.

To obtain a permit for a protest in the District, organizers already are required to provide amenities to demonstrators, such as toilets, medical tents and cooling stations for hot days. The Park Service proposal to charge for security, announced in August 2018, would have added a hefty price tag for organizers of larger events.

2.) Twitter accused of censoring free speech in Kashmir

Rights activists have raised concerns over the removal of hundreds of thousands of tweets, many of them belonging to journalists critical of the Indian government's policy on Indian-administered Kashmir.

The micro-blogging site has been accused of suppressing freedom of expression in Kashmir after a study by the media watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), revealed that nearly one million tweets have been removed since 2017. More accounts were withheld in India in the second half of 2018 than in the rest of the world combined, according to Twitter's transparency reports.

Kashmir-based human rights activist Khurram Parvez said Twitter's suspension of Kashmiri accounts was in sync with the temperament of the government in Kashmir, which frequently orders the shutdown of the internet.

3.) Cape High student won’t be suspended while court considers free speech case

A federal judge has granted a Cape Elizabeth High School student temporary relief from a suspension while the court determines whether the school violated her free speech rights by suspending her for posting notes in a girls’ bathroom saying there was a rapist in the school.

In an order issued Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker granted 15-year-old Aela Mansmann’s request for temporary relief from the three-day suspension issued by administrators at the high school. Walker said while the outcome of the case is still pending, he was persuaded to put the suspension on hold by “a fair likelihood of success” for Mansmann.

In September, Mansmann, an advocate against sexual assault who had previously gone to school administrators to push for better responses to victims, and two other girls posted sticky notes in two bathrooms that read, “There’s a rapist in the school and you know who it is.”

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