Ken Timmerman’s Threat Watch www.kentimmerman.com
Today’s email is a departure from the geopolitical round-up I normally send you on Fridays.
Today I want to talk about a outrageous assault on free speech – by Republicans, right here in Florida!
I don’t know if State representatives Alex Andrade (R-District 2) and Mike Beltran (R-District 70) (photos above L-R) are simply ignorant, naïve, or just plain incompetent. But the “Defamation, False Light” bill they dropped on the State legislature on February 21 (HB 991) is one of the worst assaults on free speech I have seen in a long time.
It’s virtually unheard of for me to be siding with left-wing advocacy groups, but on this one they are right. HB 991 “threatens one of the bedrock principles of free speech in America, which is the right to criticize government officials and other powerful figures without fear of financial or other types of retribution,” according to Katie Fallow of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute.
This is a very bad bill, sloppily written, with confusing and contradictory goals and provisions.
If a politician doesn’t like something you, a simple citizen, say about them in a social media post, or even in a speech before a private group, they can sue you. If you do not cite a source or cite an anonymous source, that will be considered as “defamation per se” and you will be liable for damages.
Further, if somebody sues a journalist or a blogger for defamation and the plaintiff loses, the journalist or blogger will still have to cover their own attorney’s fees. That is an open invitation for left-wing groups to shut down conservative reporters with frivolous lawsuits!
The Senate version of this bill (SB1220) thankfully does not include most of these objectionable provisions. But again, it aims at allowing the Nicholas Sandmann’s of this world, wrongly accused of racism or discriminatory behavior by the media, to successfully sue the media.
But Sandmann showed that under current law, he can already do that and win large punitive damage awards. This is a problem that does not need a fix.
Please consider contacting your legislator to oppose HB 991 and SB 1220.
Meanwhile, in my weekly segment on Prophecy Today Weekend I discuss the surprise brokering by Communist China of a deal to reduce tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran and what that will mean for Israel. I also talk about China’s rising military power, President Xi’s jingoism, and Russia’s use of hypersonic missiles in Ukraine.
As always, you can listen live at 1:05 PM on Saturday in Jacksonville on 104.9 FM or 550 AM, and in St. Augustine on 96.5 FM or 1420 AM, or by using the Way Radio app. You can also listen later to the podcast here.
Yours in freedom,
|Ken Timmerman’s 12th book of non-fiction, AND THE REST IS HISTORY: Tales of Hostages, Arms Dealers, Dirty Tricks, and Spies, is now available from PostHill Press. |
AND THE REST IS HISTORY can be ordered directly from Amazon by clicking here or by viewing my author’s page, here.
– Republican nominee for Congress, Maryland District 8 (2012)
– National Security and Foreign Policy Advisory Board, Trump for President 2016
– President & CEO, Foundation for Democracy in Iran, www.iran.org
– Nobel Peace Prize nominee, 2006
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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.