Everything online journalists need to protect their legal rights. This free resource culls from all Reporters Committee resources and includes exclusive content on digital media law issues.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently made clear that even the most repugnant speech on public issues is entitled to First Amendment protection. Accordingly, such "morally flawed," highly offensive speech like that spewed outside the funerals of fallen soldiers cannot give rise to tort liability against its speaker, the Court held in Snyder v. Phelps. Such protection is necessary, it noted, to ensure that public debate is not stifled. The opinion seemingly extends the rule that speech about public figures or officials cannot be the basis of emotional distress claims to speech about issues of public concern.