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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, May 10, 2021

#FREESPEECH in the News May 5, 2021

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

#FREESPEECH in the News May 5, 2021

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.) NAB on Mosby's FCC letter: 'reject such unconstitutional attacks on free speech'

The National Association of Broadcasters called on the FCC to reject Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's request for an investigation into FOX45 News, saying, "It is a slippery slope, and one that our nation’s founders clearly sought to prevent.”

On May 5, 2021, the Office of the State's Attorney of Baltimore City sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to investigate, “blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist, and extremely dangerous” coverage of Marilyn Mosby and her office.

The NAB says it is concerning that some public officials would ask the government to censor broadcasters.

2.) Marion County Schools denies free-speech violation in teacher's lawsuit over Black Lives Matter post

The school system in Marion County, Tennessee, has filed an answer to a federal lawsuit filed by a school teacher who was suspended and reassigned after she posted social media comments critical of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed Floyd's death.

Emily Jayne Bourque, a teacher in the county since 2008 who was formerly assigned to Marion County High School, filed the suit March 9 in U.S. District Court claiming the school system and officials violated her First Amendment right to free speech.

Bourque is seeking rehire to an equivalent job, back pay and benefits, punitive damages and compensatory damages for emotional distress, career damage and physical harm she claims she suffered when, following the post, she was transferred from her position teaching reading, language arts and English at Marion County High School. Bourque was reassigned to the county's alternative school with the intent of pushing her to resign, the lawsuit claims.

3.) DHS launches warning system to find domestic terrorism threats on public social media

The Department of Homeland Security has begun implementing a strategy to gather and analyze intelligence about security threats from public social media posts, DHS officials said.

The goal is to build a warning system to detect the sort of posts that appeared to predict an attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 but were missed or ignored by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the officials said. The focus is not on the identity of the posters but rather on gleaning insights about potential security threats based on emerging narratives and grievances. So far, DHS is using human beings, not computer algorithms, to make sense of the data, the officials said.

"We're not looking at who are the individual posters," said a senior official involved in the effort. "We are looking at what narratives are resonating and spreading across platforms. From there you may be able to determine what are the potential targets you need to protect."

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