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Author: Edward Fitzpatrick

The First Amendment and the Foxy Lady

The First Amendment and the Foxy Lady

Jared A. Goldstein, RWU School of Law associate dean for academic affairs, professor and former U.S. Department of Justice attorney: The exotic dancing at the Foxy Lady will never be confused with the Bolshoi Ballet. Indeed, some would consider it “low value” speech and condemn it as demeaning to women, offensive and immoral. Yet, the fact that some members of society may frown on this type of expression provides no basis to suppress it. Courts must be especially vigilant to…

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A brutal year for the free press

A brutal year for the free press

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: In Mexico, a severed human head was left in a Styrofoam cooler outside the offices of the Expreso newspaper. In Slovakia, a 27-year-old journalist, Ján Kuciak, and his fiancée were gunned down in their house amid his investigation of a mafia organization. And in the most visible case, Washington Post contributing columnist…

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Recognizing the free press in the crosshairs across the globe

Recognizing the free press in the crosshairs across the globe

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: TIME chose the right time to name four journalists and a newspaper as the magazine’s “Person of the Year.” This is an entirely appropriate salute to journalists who have the temerity to speak truth to power while facing arrest and even beheadings at the hands of governments unwilling to tolerate criticism. TIME also salutes a small Maryland…

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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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