Press freedom under siege in Hungary

Press freedom under siege in Hungary

Noah Ashe, RWU junior majoring in journalism and political science: Taking a cue from Vladimir Putin and other authoritarian leaders, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his right-wing Fidesz party have been eroding basic human rights and freedoms in the country since coming to power in May 2010. This is nothing new. Europe is once again witnessing the rise of right-wing populist movements that are gaining seats in European legislatures and electing presidents and prime ministers with authoritarian tendencies. During…

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A real-world lesson in the value of press freedom

A real-world lesson in the value of press freedom

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: Assuming he was about to die, he handed the change from his bus fare to the woman sitting next to him. “Just take it,” he told her. “Just pray for me – pray for me.” As an eager young journalist, he’d been smashed with rifle butts and sliced with bayonets for daring…

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Despite attacks on free press, young journalists won’t be silenced

Despite attacks on free press, young journalists won’t be silenced

Kaylee Pugliese, RWU senior majoring in journalism:  At a Nov. 7 press conference, CNN reporter James Acosta asked President Donald Trump a question about immigrants from Central America traveling to the U.S. border. “I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,” Trump said. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.” Even at a surface glance, this statement is an attack on Acosta and, therefore, an attack on the…

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An attack on the free press, an attack on democracy

An attack on the free press, an attack on democracy

Angeli Tillett, RWU junior majoring in journalism and political science: Coming into college as a journalism major was scary enough. Everyone always rants about how “journalism is dead” and how we’ll never find a place in a newsroom. Despite the negativity, we’re still here. But the future of journalism is growing even more uncertain as President Donald Trump continually attacks the media. On Nov. 7, Trump took the drastic step of revoking the “hard pass” of CNN Chief White House…

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White House must return Jim Acosta’s press credentials

White House must return Jim Acosta’s press credentials

Noah Ashe, RWU junior majoring in journalism and political science: The President of the United States and CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta engaged in a tense exchange on Wednesday, Nov. 7, that saw President Trump having one of his aides take the microphone out of Acosta’s hands and the President berating the reporter, calling him a “rude and terrible person.” Acosta, CNN’s longstanding White House correspondent, was not doing anything wrong or out of the ordinary. He was fulfilling…

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U.S. free press beacon dimmed

U.S. free press beacon dimmed

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: The President of the United States praised a member of Congress for assaulting a journalist. Think about the message that sends to the world. Now add in that President Trump had just spent days publicly grasping for ways to avoid blaming Saudi Arabia for the gruesome murder of another journalist. And then,…

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First Amendment lets officials mute but not block Twitter critics

First Amendment lets officials mute but not block Twitter critics

Jenna Wims Hashway, professor of legal practice at the RWU School of Law: Public agencies and officials run afoul of First Amendment protections if they block Twitter followers for criticizing them. But those First Amendment arguments are moot if those government officials simply hit “mute.” That’s the upshot of a recent ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, who said that President Trump’s decision to block Twitter followers for their political views represented a violation of the First Amendment….

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Recognizing a champion of open government, First Amendment

Recognizing a champion of open government, First Amendment

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: Glamorous work it’s not. The work that she has done for decades has placed her at odds with some of the state’s most powerful public officials. The work has placed her on hard wooden benches in State House hearing rooms, waiting for hours to deliver testimony to leery legislators. And the work…

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Alex Jones might not find refuge in First Amendment

Alex Jones might not find refuge in First Amendment

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: The First Amendment protects a lot of outlandish, hateful speech. It protected the right of Westboro Baptist Church members to hold anti-gay protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers. And it protected the right of neo-Nazis to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie where many Holocaust survivors lived (they ended up…

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Infowars Goes to War with the First Amendment

Infowars Goes to War with the First Amendment

David A. Logan, professor of law and former dean of the RWU School of Law, who has studied and written extensively about First Amendment issues: The malicious spreading of rumors, masquerading as fact, well predates the Internet, but the ubiquity and speed of electronic communications, and the tendency of social media to provide amplification, has made the problem exponentially more dangerous to the “marketplace of ideas.” Perhaps there is no better example of that cancer on public discourse than Infowars,…

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