Bloggers may lose First Amendment protections

Depending on how the next Texas court defines “nonmedia,” that is. The Texas Court of Appeals for the Second District (Dallas), seems to be saying if you’re not part of the institutional media, it will be easier for plaintiffs to win a libel judgement against you.

“…this is an unfortunate result, and also requires Texas courts to now decide who counts as ‘media’ for First Amendment purposes. Do book authors qualify? Filmmakers? Academics? Bloggers? (Does it matter whether they make money blogging? Whether they blog on The Washington Post site, even if they are not newspaper employees?)”

I learned to be wary of libel when I was a newspaperman. Hence I try to reserve my criticisms here for obvious public figures, like the Worm, Godzillary and Joey Hairplugs. Take on a small-town mayor, however, one who is not wellknown beyond his jurisdiction and you might run afoul of this new ruling. Not to mention criticizing a private citizen with less-than-temperate language—which would have been true even before the ruling.

Via The Volokh Conspiracy

One response to “Bloggers may lose First Amendment protections

  1. Hm… sounds bad enough. Almost like Britain, where everyone sues everyone for a mere mention.