FLORIDA — A Coral Gables ordinance regulating the size, color and placement of newsracks and banning advertisements from appearing on them was upheld in late December by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta (11th Cir.).
The law was challenged by a Spanish-language newspaper, Exito, which was distributed in purple newspaper display racks in Coral Gables. The ordinance requires Exito to repaint its newsracks in beige and brown.
Exito had sued the city in federal district court in Miami, arguing that the restrictions violated its rights of free speech and free press, according to the Associated Press.
The appellate court overturned the district’s court decision which struck down parts of the ordinance. The higher court found that the law did not regulate the content of the newspapers in the racks, and applied to all newspaper racks, not just those belonging to Exito. Therefore, the restrictions were not unconstitutional, according to the court.
The court added that while “the beige and brown colors specified in the ordinance are not as eyecatching as the deep purple newsracks,” they are “consistent with [Coral Gables’s] Mediterranean theme.” (Gold Coast Publications v. Coral Gables)
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.