Press organizations warn Supreme Court of threats posed by Communications Decency Act

ARLINGTON, VA — The Student Press Law Center joined with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today in arguing that the Communications Decency Act, the federal law that criminalizes the distribution of material deemed “indecent” on the Internet, would threaten the ability of journalists to gather and publish news. The arguments were part of the organizations’ friend of the court brief filed before the U.S. Supreme Court in Reno v. ACLU.

In its brief, the Center argues that “there are endless examples of newsworthy topics that arguably fall within the purview of the statute and that could subject journalists to criminal sanction for doing their jobs. The inevitable result of the statute, even if it is never enforced against a news organization, will be to chill free speech on important public issues.”

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to be heard by the Court on March 19, with a decision expected by early summer.

View the full text of the SPLC/RCFPamicus curiae brief, posted on the Reporters Committee’s Web site.

Additional information about the case is available from the ACLU Web site.