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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!

Resources

News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The ACLU of Washington writes to express its concern over a practice of the Yelm City Council governing public comment periods during council meetings. According to recent press reports, the Council will routinely block discussion of topics -- or even particular words, such as "moratorium" -- that the Council does not wish to hear about. This practice frustrates the entire purpose of a public comment period, which is to allow citizens the opportunity to tell their representatives what they care about. The ability of citizens to state their views about matters of public concern is one of the cornerstones of a free and accountable government. Yelm's practice of silencing public comment violates that principle.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
For the second time, Washington's high court invalidated a law that empowered the government to regulate what is said during political campaigns.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
An amateur photographer has obtained compensation from the city of Seattle after he was arrested simply for taking photos of police making an arrest.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
As Seattle neared "N30," the one-year anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests on November 30th, free speech advocates held our collective breath in hopes that the City would "get it right" this time by dealing properly with protest activities. Responding to saber-rattling comments by some officials, the ACLU urged the City to respect free speech rights, and we readied our Web site report form to receive complaints of police misconduct.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The ACLU of Washington announced today the settlement of a lawsuit against the City of Tacoma over excessive fees required of groups organizing political marches. Under terms of the settlement, the City of Tacoma amended its ordinance regulating parades and other special events so that organizations are not required to pay unduly burdensome fees in order to exercise their free speech rights. The City Council adopted the revised ordinance on October 21.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
Last summer, Bremerton-Kitsap Access Television took off the air the “Saturn Series,” a conceptual art show that combined assorted footage with political captions criticizing the Bush administration. With the help of the ACLU, producer Gary Nicholson regained his broadcasting privileges
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
In October 2003 the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Seattle can bar political candidates from mentioning their opponents in the City's voter pamphlet. The decision reversed a trial court ruling that found the ban was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Washington Court of Appeals overturned a law that regulates the content of political candidates’ statements, saying that it violates their right to free speech and does not ensure the honesty of elections.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
Students in Bellingham can continue distributing at school the alternative newspaper they produce thanks to help from the ACLU.

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