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Free Speech

The right to express yourself regardless of the popularity your views is basic to a democratic society. Throughout its history, the ACLU has met challenges from officials who cite reasons old and new to restrict this right. We recognize that if one person can be silenced, all of us are at risk.
Know Your Rights: Street Speech.  Can I pass out flyers to crowds at a mall?  A farmers market? At a school or campus? Find out!
Download our know your rights guide to protests
ACLU-WA urges legislators:  Respect free speech rights on social media
After ACLU mation, Whatcom County prosecutor withdrew a search warrant for protest group's Facebook page

Resources

News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The city of Seattle and the ACLU have reached a partial settlement of a lawsuit over police disruption of a 2003 march by opponents of police brutality.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
In a precedent-setting ruling on free speech in cyberspace, a federal court in Seattle today upheld the right to speak anonymously on the Internet.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The City of Pasco and artists Janette Hopper and Sharon Rupp have reached a final settlement in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the artists. Under terms of the settlement, the City has issued an apology to the artists for “censoring their artwork” and further acknowledging it violated their First Amendment rights. The final settlement came recently, after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2001 that the City of Pasco violated the rights of Hopper and Rupp when it excluded their works from a program to display art at the Pasco City Hall in 1996.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour has issued a permanent injunction barring enforcement of a City of Medina law which required people to apply for a license from town officials and submit to a police background check in order to exercise their free speech rights.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
Seeking to uphold union democracy, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and Public Citizen today filed a lawsuit backing the free speech rights of a union member running for office. The suit was filed on behalf of Joseph Hughes to secure his right to speak with fellow members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
Shirley Scheier was frisked, handcuffed, and detained for taking photographs of power lines as part of an art project. The ACLU-WA has reached a settlement of her lawsuit against the City of Snohomish.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
ACLU-WA 1999-2000 Annual Report Cyberspace is the latest frontier for battles over censorship. Around the state, right-wing groups are demanding that public libraries install filters to "protect" people from sexually explicit materials on the Internet.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
All student-initiated clubs have the right to speak on campus and circulate leaflets or underground newspapers at school. However, the ACLU believes that no student-initiated club has a legal right to force the school to give official endorsement and money to the group if the school does not wish to sponsor it.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The federal Equal Access Act requires schools to give all noncurriculum-related student clubs – such as Gay-Straight Alliances - equal access to school facilities, regardless of the content of the speech in their meetings.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
In a victory for prisoner rights, a federal appeals court has found that corrections officials cannot prevent inmates from receiving bulk mail sent at nonprofit postal rates.

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