This section covers official government restrictions of speech prior to publication. Prior restraints are viewed by the U.S. Supreme Court as “the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights," which repeatedly has found that such restraints are presumed unconstitutional. Restraints on Internet speech follow the same rules, although particular speech can often be restrained if it has already been adjudged as libelous.
Digital Journalist's Legal Guide
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.
A Connecticut Superior Court judge in the juvenile division, overseeing a custody dispute, issued a prior restraint order against the Connecticut Law Tribune, prohibiting a reporter from publishing information he obtained while in the courtroom and from a court document that had been posted publicly on the court website. The judge also sealed transcripts and his orders and memorandum justifying the prior restraint. The Connecticut Law Tribune appealed, and the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal. The Reporters Committee and 48 media companies filed a motion to appear as amici curiae, arguing that the court violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments when it issued an order barring publication of information lawfully obtained from a court document posted on the court's own public website. We argued that there is a heavy presumption against prior restraints generally, and specifically under the U.S. Supreme Court holding in Oklahoma Publishing Co. v.