From Rev. Crystal Cox — a whistleblower receives protection from the 9th circuit

Reverend Crystal Cox

Crystal L. Cox, Port Townsend Washington

“On January 17, 2014, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Crystal L. Cox from Eureka, Montana who was sued by for defamation by Kevin Padrick, an attorney and his company – Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. Cox had written posts exposing fraud, corruption, money-laundering and so forth.”

“This ruling should be a clear reminder to misguided attorneys, corporations, developers or those with affluence to cease bullying or intimidating those who report the issues of the day.

Many concerned citizens have no choice but to create their own blogs and websites to level the playing field in this blossoming social media warfare.

The government has its plentiful public relations specialists, paid for by taxpayers. Corporations and special interests have their hired PR consultants. There are hired mercenaries who feel no qualms about spinning the facts. News media can be bought or controlled by big money or shut down.

It’s not uncommon for the public to read articles or watch the TV news only to lament the irregularities or inadequate reporting. Oftentimes, critical issues are shunned or ignored by corporate media because of entwined relationships.

Bloggers with information or have intimate experiences and understanding of issues are critically needed now, more than ever.”

source

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/choon-james/confirmed-bloggers-have-f_b_4657313.html

“The Court stated,  The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable.”

They went on to cite cases in which individual speakers have been granted First Amendment rights, despite not being a part of the established press. For example, the First Amendment rights of authors have often been protected,  regardless of their training, background, or affiliations .

This is very good news for anyone who has a blog or even a desire to post things in an individual capacity on their social network. 

It could also go a far way for advocacy groups that work unofficially for candidates and their rights to create media alleging things against candidates. It could also have important ramifications for blogging in other lawsuits.

For example, if a blogger is treated as a journalist for the purposes of the First Amendment, they could also be treated as a journalist in a matter like protection of sources.”

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