Protecting Our Freedom of Speech: The SPEECH Act Now Before the Senate
There is a bill in congress which will finally protect Americans First Amendment rights to free speech. I have been watching this as American authors have been sued in foreign countries for their books, articles and research simply because their words are banned in that country. The books, articles and research were published in the United States and if foreign countries are offended by what is printed then they certainly have the right to ban the books from being sold in their country. They do not have the right to impose their laws on American citizens rights to free speech.
This is a good article that gives as an example of what is happening to our authors and researchers a personal persecution. BB
The SPEECH Act marks a critical step in the defense of American national security and the freedoms of expression that form the cornerstone of our democracy. The Act protects these First Amendment guarantees by guarding authors and publishers from enforcement of frivolous foreign libel judgments from countries that do not have the United States’ strong free speech protections. Such suits, which have been pressed with increasing frequency worldwide over the past several years, have been used as a weapon to silence American researchers, scientists, reporters, bloggers and others.
American writers and media outlets have been sued for libel in England, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Singapore, and others. They were forced into expensive lawsuits abroad, staining their reputations, discouraging research in their fields, and depriving the American public of vital information.
The SPEECH Act grants “a cause of action for declaratory judgment relief against a party who has brought a successful foreign defamation action whose judgment undermines the First Amendment,” and provides for legal fees in certain situations. It will help diminish the severe chilling effect such suits are having on publishers and authors investigating matters of public interest, such as national security, personal health, and safety.