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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Public needs to see Gitmo proceedings

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    As things now stand, Americans will not be able to see TV coverage of upcoming 9/11-related trials from Guantanamo Bay.

    The situation is regrettable — but easily remedied.

    A military judge this week said he had no authority to override an earlier decision by the Department of Defense that denied requests by the defense attorneys for the accused and by and news-related groups to televise the trials.

  • GUEST OPINION: Misfire over publishing gun-holders

    By KEN PAULSON
    President, First Amendment Center
    When The Journal News, a suburban New York newspaper, published the names of gun-permit holders late last month, the backlash was immediate.

  • Resolutions, sure, but why be so formal?

    Jan. 1 looms.
    Many of us are stuffed full from Christmas treats and are already planning how to shed some extra weight.
    We’re also promising ourselves we’ll finally clean out the basement, get more organized, get out of debt and paint that hall — the one with six doorway frames that will all need special attention.
    In other words, we have started on our New Year’s resolutions.
    Just talking about New Year’s resolutions makes some of us weary.

  • We’re really looking for more bang for tax dollars

    By LEE HAMILTON
    We are locked in a seemingly permanent debate over the proper size and scope of government. It was a centerpiece of the recent presidential campaign.
    It features heavily in the ongoing maneuvering over the “fiscal cliff” and the upcoming vote on raising the debt ceiling.
    And it surfaces regularly in the speeches and comments of politicians and opinion leaders who either take the government to task for growing too large or argue that it needs to play an even more active role than it does now.

  • GUEST OPINION: Do you have free speech in a shopping mall?

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Most Americans know that they can speak their mind in the public square, thanks to the First Amendment.

    But what about shopping malls, arguably the modern equivalent of a village green?

    Well, outside of California and New Jersey, the First Amendment’s strong protection for free expression — particularly speech involving public issues — likely won’t apply in your local mall if it’s privately owned.

  • GUEST OPINION: Mistakes in Newtown need discussing

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much flawed reporting as in the news coverage surrounding the horrific school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

    Errors abounded. News organizations identified the wrong man as the shooter, reported that the shooter’s mother was a teacher at the school and mischaracterized both the killers’ weapons and his access to the school. One flawed report said that the killer had a run-in with teachers at the school the day before the massacre.

  • Guest Opinion: Sentencing teen to pew crosses line

    BY DAVID L. HUDSON Jr.
    First Amendment Center
    The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a judicial-conduct complaint against an Oklahoma judge who sentenced a 17-year-old to an unusual form of probation — 10 years of church.

    In November, Muskogee County District Judge Mike Norman imposed the sentence on Tyler Alred, who was found guilty of manslaughter for getting into an accident that killed his 16-year-old friend.

  • GUEST OPINION: Don’t overlook the gifts of freedom on Dec. 15 holiday

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    The law is murky, but probably not.

    It’s easy to take freedom for granted. If we’re complacent about our core liberties, we’re less likely to notice a gradual erosion.

    The best way to build awareness of our core freedoms is through education. That’s why the announcement of the nation’s first monument to the Bill of Rights comes as particularly good news.

  • GUEST OPINION: Petraeus affair reminds us how little is private

    BY GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    National attention to the Petraeus affair is driven by everything from morbid curiosity to concern for national security. But for most of us, issues of privacy and the First Amendment also should take center stage.

    As shown by the FBI’s relatively quick trip through the online missives of Gen. David Petraeus’ trysts, not much — if any — of our electronic communication is genuinely “private,” not even for the director of the world’s largest spy agency.

  • GUEST OPINION: First Amendment gives us much to be thankful for

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    Last week, at a time in which Americans traditionally give thanks, two incidents beyond our shores remind us not to take freedom of expression for granted.

    In China, Zhai Xiaobing’s tweet on Nov. 5 jokingly linking a popular horror movie to the Nov. 8 Communist Party congress led to his arrest on charges of supporting terrorism.

    His tweet, which said “An earthshaking debut will be seen at the global premiere on Nov. 8!,” was apparently a reference to the Great Hall of the People.