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Volume 25, Number 10 A monthly report of mass media law in Florida
Published by The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida
Panel advises more electronic access FAMU trustees
to hire in open
case files available electronically.
Court Administration and ACCESS PACERNet system. The
access and solicited public comments.
files could be used to “intimidate, harass
and their families.” (816/01 – 8/24/01;
Anti-leak bill introduced in Congress
record, and filing the application oftenstarts public scrutiny of the candidate.
an anti-leak bill, which would prosecute,
information affects national security.
sunshine,” said board member Rev. R.B.
Magazine plans to appeal ruling in favor of freelance photographer
are hoping that language in the Tasini
“medium-neutral” will help them win an
COPYRIGHT work, which would give new work, because the articles, ads and
as in the paper edition. In the Tasini
before the U.S. Supreme ruled in New
issues, the appeals court ruled that it was
York Times v. Tasini
, a similar case in
pulled out from their original context.
(3/26/01 – 8/28/001; Greenberg v.
National Geographic Society
, 29 Media
Auditor: Access funds not used for original purpose
2000 fiscal year. Less than a third of the
purposes beyond its original authority.
fund – $494,000 – was spent on record
systems during that same time period.
Pharmaceutical company challenges Sunshine in Litigation Act
challenges to the trial court’s order and
procedural matter in the case, saying the
public hazard hearing to a special master
Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal,
on behalf of Novartis, which plans to file
which said “[W]e … decline to entertain
Two papers challenge
Judge refuses to unseal records before trial
autopsy photo law
MIAMI – The Orlando Sentinel
the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
and the South Florida
would threaten the officers’ rights to a
, argued that releasing the
the 1999 death of inmate Frank Valdes.
Lease agreement not public record, judge rules
record, a circuit court judge ruled.
The Weekly Planet
sued to get a copy
legislation reported in any issue as
“on file” may be obtained upon
request from the Brechner Center for
Freedom of Information, College of
3208 Weimer Hall, P.O. Box 118400,
University of Florida, Gainesville,
2 The Brechner Report
n October 2001
Judge OKs Miami airport contract
Secure Wrap. (Brechner Report
Carnival contract not Sunshine violation
looking for the identity of a confidential
before Crawford left the agriculture post
for a job as the executive director of the
Florida Citrus Commission. (Brechner
only be issued for reporters’information when the information being
Judge orders school board to allow taping
sought is essential to a criminalinvestigation. The guidelines, which are
public has a right to attend meetings but
does not have the right to videotape.
reasonable investigative routes first and
newly confirmed FBI Director Robert S.
pay Suncam’s court costs and attorneys’
Suncam Inc. v. Pinellas County School
Brechner Center for Freedom of Information
Court rules mushroom ads are unconstitutional
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400
Sandra F. Chance, J.D., Director/Executive Editor
S. Camille Broadway, Editor
Jackie Thomas, Production Coordinator
Meghan Morris, Production Assistant
Stephen Harmon, Production Assistant
The Brechner Report
is published 12 times a yearunder the auspices of the University of Florida
Foundation. The Brechner Report
is a joint effort of
The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, the
Council to generate generic advertising.
University of Florida College of Journalism andCommunications, the Florida Press Association, the
those of the fruit growers, were not part
Florida Association of Broadcasters, the Florida Society
upheld an appeals court decision in favor
of Newspaper Editors and the Joseph L. Brechner
Endowment. The Brechner Report
thanks Barnett, Bolt,
Kirkwood & Long and Colleen Ahern for theircontributions to this issue.
The Brechner Report
n October 2001
Terror should not triumph over nation’s freedoms
The terrors on Sept. 11 were so calamitous that they
secrets acts” by those who are deeply concerned about
threaten to shake us loose from our constitutional
its impact on speech and the press and the flow of
mooring. A civil liberties catastrophe looms as citizens
critical information to the public. The Flag Desecration
surrender to fear, fury and frustration and as lawmakers
Act, which would for the first time in the history of our
throw money and shards of the Bill of Rights at the
nation amend the First Amendment to prohibit burning
the flag as a form of political dissent. It would be
Some of our elected leaders predict a gloomy future
foolish to dismiss such developments as mere nibbling
at the edges of our rights. In fact, each nibble
diminishes our commitment to freedom and the
principles that distinguish our way of life from all others.
In such an atmosphere, voices of dissent grow silent, probing
By Paul McMasters
questions by the press are viewed as unpatriotic and subversive,
Democratic Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo.
and whistleblowers inside government with vital information are
“We’re not going to have all the openness and freedom we have
quieted. In such an atmosphere, propaganda, rumor and paranoia
had.” Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., repeated the
fester and infect. In such an atmosphere, citizens are denied
warning: “When you’re in this type of conflict, when you’re at
their place as full partners in their own governance.
war, civil liberties are treated differently.” Even staunch First
By suspending some of our most precious principles, the
Amendment advocates, haunted by the devastation in New York
risk becomes not just terrorists whose hearts have grown rancid
City, near Washington, D.C., and the Pennsylvania countryside,
with hate but also a citizenry whose hearts are filled with fear.
are tempted to temporize in the face of insistent calls to
There are things we can and should be doing rather than
suspend or re-examine our commitment to civil liberties.
joining the stampede to ditch our rights. As columnist Thomas
The First Amendment fallout commenced within hours of the
Friedman put it: “We have to fight the terrorists as if there were
airplanes crashing into their targets. FBI agents fanned out to
no rules and preserve our open society as if there were no
persuade Internet firms and service providers to hook up e-mail
terrorists.” As much as we wish to be safe forever from the
sniffing software to monitor private citizens’ e-mail. While the
horrors of last week, we simply cannot protect freedom by
desire to marshal all resources is understandable, there are
forsaking freedom. As much as we want relief from this time of
serious consequences for private speech and public discourse
national duress, we simply cannot make ourselves more secure
when ordinary citizens fear that law enforcement officials with
by making fundamental freedoms less secure.
broad powers to investigate and detain are listening in.
What an affront to the courage and heroism shown by those
Government officials and policymakers immediately called
who gave their lives in rescue efforts or in forcing hijackers
for measures that would chill public discourse, disrupt reporting
into a crash if we give in easily to fear or panic.
by the press, and interrupt the flow of information to the public.
Fire from the skies and hatred from afar caused human
They want an expansion of law enforcement powers to spy on
carnage and suffering at an unthinkable level. They dealt
telephone and Internet traffic, to restrict the use of Internet
terrifying blows to our financial institutions, our transportation
encryption products that thwart online monitoring of private
and communications systems, our political and military nerve
e-mail, to slow down and divert funds from the declassification
centers, and to a nation’s sense of self and security.
of secrets, and to force public libraries to reveal information
Do we really want to add constitutional freedoms to that
about patrons’ use of their computers.
In Congress, prospects brightened for several troubling
measures, including: The Cyber Security Information Act, which
Paul McMasters is the First Amendment Ombudsman
among other things would blow a gaping hole in the Freedom of
with The Freedom Forum foundation. A lengthier version of
Information Act. Anti-leaks legislation, dubbed the “official
his column is available at http://www.freedomforum.org.
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