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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ind. Law - "Two lawmakers want to protect student journalists"

That is the headline to this story today in the Kokomo Tribune, reported by Maureen Hayden of CNHI. Some quotes:

Principals and superintendents who censor student newspapers may face new limits under a proposal to restore First Amendment rights to young journalists.

Indiana lawmakers are considering a move to reverse the effects of a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave school officials free rein to stop the publication of stories they deemed objectionable - even ones that meet other journalistic standards.

The bill is carried by two lawmakers with ties to journalism - Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, a former newspaper reporter, and Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, a former newspaper lawyer who’s defended reporters in court.

Clere said student reporters have operated for too long without the freedoms afforded to professional media as their stories, or even ideas, get censored before going to print. * * *

The legislation models laws passed in several states - including Illinois, Missouri and South Dakota - with support from the Student Law Press Center.

The laws prevent high schools and colleges from operating under a precedent set by Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, the ruling that gave administrators the authority to censor most school-sponsored media.

Advocates for student journalists say the legislation is needed to ensure young journalists can report on news of public concern without interference from those who may be embarrassed by their coverage. * * *

The legislation has support from the Indiana Collegiate Press Association, whose student-members worked on the bill's language and are encouraging their local legislators to vote for it. The bill would also give student journalists at Indiana’s public universities more free speech protections that were curbed by 1988 court ruling.

ILB: For background, see this ILB post from 2006. (Be aware that none of the links are still active.)

Hazelwood was a 1988 SCOTUS decision that held the First Amendment rights of high-student journalists are not violated when school officials prevent the publication of certain articles in the school newspaper.

In 2005, in the case of Hosty v. Carter, the 7th Circuit, meeting en banc, held 7-4 that "Hazelwood extends to a university setting." The SCOTUS denied cert.

The proposal is HB 1130. Here is the introduced version. The bill is in the House Education committee.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 11, 2017 09:41 AM
Posted to Courts in general | Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions | Indiana Law