Two reporters in North Carolina convicted of trespassing while covering political activities
In June, two reporters in North Carolina were convicted of trespassing while covering political activities. Matilda Bliss and Veronica Coit of The Asheville Blade were charged with misdemeanour trespassing in 2021 while reporting on police clearing protestors and homeless people from Aston Park on 25th December.
"The two journalists should never have been on trial. They were performing a public service and recording police activity,” said Katherine Jacobsen, U.S. and Canada Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, in a statement. "Their conviction is a blatant violation of their First Amendment rights, and their convictions set an unsettling precedent for journalists in Asheville and the nation."
On 18th May, the supreme court issued a ruling saying that Twitter is not liable for aiding and abetting a shooting attack at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul for which Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility. In the case of Twitter v. Taamneh, the court found that Twitter was not liable for aiding and abetting the Reina attack because it did not “knowingly” provide “substantial assistance” to ISIS under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The court’s opinion narrows the scope of liability under the ATA.
On 30th May, New Hampshire Public Radio Senior Reporter Lauren Chooljian was ordered to turn over transcripts and notes in connection with a defamation lawsuit against the radio news service. Attorneys for NHPR said that handing over that information would be an “extraordinary inversion of the usual order of operations.” The judge who made the order said he would review the materials in private first in order to determine whether Chooljian or NHPR “displayed a reckless disregard for the truth by reporting a story they knew or suspected was false.” He also noted that the radio service would have the opportunity to appeal the release of any materials in the event that he finds they are subject to disclosure.
Press freedom and civil liberties orgs condemn conviction of Asheville journalists https://t.co/UvuoXPNFU0— Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) June 23, 2023
On 1st June, workers across the state of Florida refused to go to work as part of a protest against a new immigration law that they say will criminalise migrants and hurt families. Described as “Un Día Sin Inmigrantes,” or “A day without immigrants,” the protest was against SB-1718, a new law that includes penalties for certain employers if they don't verify a worker's immigration status and for those who travel with anyone undocumented. It also requires Florida hospitals that accept Medicaid to include a citizenship question on forms, thus discouraging many immigrants from getting medical care. Protests were also held in other states, including California, Georgia, Minnesota, Illinois, Oregon, Texas, South Carolina and Colorado.
In early June, hundreds of journalists for Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper chain, walked off the job saying the company has hurt its local newsrooms. The walkout included workers from about two dozen newsrooms, including The Palm Beach Post, The Arizona Republic and The Austin American-Statesman. The protest was timed to coincide with Gannett’s annual shareholder meeting. The NewsGuild, which represents more than 1,000 journalists from Gannett, sent a letter to Gannett shareholders in May urging a vote of no confidence against Mike Reed, the chief executive and chairman.
On 7th June, at least three people were arrested while at a protest of a high school board meeting in California. Several hundred people had gathered to protest outside the Glendale Unified School Board meeting when a few people became violent, according to police reports. “Despite police attempts to de-escalate the situation, at least three individuals were arrested for various charges, including unlawful use of pepper spray and willfully obstructing officers in the course of their duties,” a release from the Glendale Police Department said.
On 31st May, several hundred Amazon employees held a walkout to protest the company’s contributions to the climate crisis and several workplace related issues. Organised by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the walkout was held at locations across the country because Amazon failed to fulfill the Climate Pledge the company made in 2019 and put mandates in place requiring workers to return to the office without ensuring worker safety. “Our goal is to change Amazon's cost/benefit analysis on making harmful, unilateral decisions that are having an outsized impact on people of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people.”
On 1st June, the Supreme Court made it easier for employers to sue striking workers in a decision widely seen as a setback for labour unions. The decision in the case of Glacier Northwest Inc against a local affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters overturned a lower court’s ruling in the union’s favour and sided with a concrete business in Washington state that sued the union representing its truck drivers after a work stoppage. In a dissenting opinion, justices wrote that the ruling “risks erosion of the right to strike” and “is likely to cause considerable confusion among the lower courts” about how pre-emption under the National Labor Relations Act should apply in future cases.
The 8-1 decision written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett means the company, Glacier Northwest Inc., can pursue a lawsuit against the union in state court over an August 2017 strike in which drivers walked off the job, leaving wet concrete in their trucks. https://t.co/GtXBeSgjvA— John FitzGerald (@TheTweetOfJohn) June 1, 2023