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#FreeSpeech in the News: July 5, 2016

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 - this week. 


The Washington Examiner reports on the annual State of Free Speech survey, in which 86 percent of Americans believe protecting free speech is more important than protecting offensive speech.

“Although the survey showed widespread respect for free speech, it also revealed a troubling lack of knowledge about the First Amendment. Thirty-nine percent of Americans could not name any of the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment: freedom of the press, speech and religion, as well as the right to petition and right of assembly.”

With the RNC quickly approaching, Rolling Stone hails the newest protest rule changes in Cleveland as a victory for both the homeless, who will be able to reside in the largest convention perimeter ever, and freedom of speech.

"But to be honest, as a citizen, I think it's a bigger victory that we stopped the City of Cleveland and all the other forces adjoined to it from instituting such a barrier on our free speech, and I'm pretty happy about that."

Also on the topic of American politics, Salon provides a forum for one of the co-founders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement to defend of the free speech rights of the individuals that support BDS.

“We maintain… optimism in the face of mounting attacks against BDS, particularly in the US, where the Israeli government and pressure groups have been intensifying efforts to suppress it. The latest broadside comes from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who recently issued an executive order that requires state agencies and authorities to divest from any company or entity that is perceived as supporting BDS.”

On the evergreen topic of free speech on college campuses, the Aspen Institute debunked 8 myths that they perceive about speech in the university setting, while The Atlantic offers some new perspectives from Yale University, posing the question: should anything be ‘off the table’ in college debates?

“I have a lot of sympathy for these students, but it's not as though what you saw in the video happening at Yale is the only hate speech / free speech issue we confront.”

And finally, Bloomberg asks an intriguing question: are your online reviews and Yelp comments protected by the First Amendment? The importance of the Constitutional law may surprise you.

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