Court: Maryland law regulating newspapers and social media flunks First Amendment

Last year following the Russian Facebook scandal the Maryland legislature passed a bill regulating newspapers (!) and other online ad platforms. Gov. Larry Hogan refused to sign it, citing First Amendment concerns. Now a federal court has agreed and blocked the law’s enforcement as an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom of the press.

I write about the case at Cato. “Social media trickery is bad. Chipping away at First Amendment liberties to stop it is worse.”

3 Comments

  • […] I write about the case at Cato. “Social media trickery is bad. Chipping away at First Amendment liberties to stop it is worse.” (reprinted from Overlawyered). […]

  • Come now Mr. Olson…..you are acting as if Maryland has legislators and government employees that protect citizens’ rights instead of each other.

    I recently filed two requests for public records from the City of Baltimore. The law, aptly named “Maryland PIA Law” because it is a p.i.a. requires the responding agency to fulfill the request within 10 days, and if they cannot, they are to to contact the requester and give a new date for fulfilling the request which cannot be more than 30 days. If the responding agency takes longer than 10 days, they must give a reason for the delay.

    When both agencies failed to provide the requested documents in 10 day, I wrote and wanted to know the delay. (I wrote after 14 days had elapsed.)

    Both agencies said that the law didn’t apply.

    I contacted the ombudsman for the program who said that in simply notifying me that the City had received the requests, they had satisfied the requirement for the notice of the length of time, and were under no obligation to fulfill the 10 day requirement or even the 30 day requirement.

  • As long as there have been newspapers there has been deception. The founders complained about it and the first elections for pres had big problems with lies and calumny directed at the candidates. The only solution is competing media + caveat emptor, not laws. No law can prevent media lies and they always end up protecting politicians anyway.

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