When a tragedy like the Parkland shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School occurs, there tend to be two schools of thought where the release of information is concerned. On the one hand, Florida’s Public Records Act protects the rights of citizens and news organizations to access certain kinds of evidence and information to monitor how well government is functioning. On the other, governing and investigative bodies often have a vested interest in withholding some of […]Continue Reading
Appeals Court Says Fort Lauderdale Food Sharing Protected Under the First Amendment
Like many cities, Fort Lauderdale’s homeless population has grown in recent years, resulting in a two very different reactions. One is an attempt to reach out to the homeless community and offer help, as exemplified by the weekly meals at Stranahan Park offered by a group calling itself Food Not Bombs. At the same time, there is a feeling of frustration from visitors and local businesses over some aspects of the increasing homeless population. Cities […]Continue Reading
FIU Bridge Collapse: Do Public Records Stop Being Public Records When There’s an Investigation?
The FIU bridge collapse this past March was a terrible tragedy. Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened to prevent another such occurrence in the future. As a part of this, FDOT has been working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), providing them with documentation regarding the construction of the bridge. While those two organizations have been conducting their investigation, the press has been reporting on it and updating the public on […]Continue Reading
The Repeal of Net Neutrality: Will It Impact Free Speech on the Internet?
At the end of 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to end net neutrality. Many were outraged. Some celebrated. But I imagine most people simply didn’t know what it all really meant or how the change would impact their Internet experience. Let’s start by explaining the concept of net neutrality. What Is Net Neutrality? Communications companies regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, such as telephone companies, must follow a law that requires them to treat […]Continue Reading
The Difference Between Speech and Press: Where They Do and Don’t Overlap
Freedom of speech and freedom of press are covered by many of the same laws. And both concepts are covered under the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Together, they can be referred to […]Continue Reading
Will Sun Sentinel Face Consequences for Revealing Redacted Info on Nikolas Cruz?
After the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there was an investigation into how effectively the school district provided counseling and education services to shooter Nikolas Cruz in the months leading up to the horrific crimes he is charged with—murdering 17 students. When the investigation report was prepared, news media organizations—fulfilling their function to report on government operations and effectiveness—pushed to obtain copies of the report. The judge on Cruz’s case agreed that […]Continue Reading