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Freedom Of Speech

October 3, 2006 | David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer
In a setback for lawyer and TV commentator Gloria Allred, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a free-speech challenge to the increasingly common practice of judges issuing "gag orders" for all the lawyers in highly publicized criminal cases. The order turning down Allred's appeal came on an unusually quiet first day of the court's fall session. By law, the justices open their term on the first Monday of October.
September 27, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Fifty-six Kurdish mayors went on trial in Turkey's latest freedom-of-speech case. They are accused of helping terrorists by writing a letter arguing to keep a Kurdish television station on the air. The Danish-based Roj television station is banned in Turkey. It often features leaders of the main outlawed Kurdish guerrilla group speaking by satellite telephone from northern Iraq. Their comments are accompanied by images of rebels being trained or attacking Turkish soldiers.
September 22, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
One of Turkey's leading authors, Elif Shafak, was acquitted of "insulting Turkishness" -- a charge that many Turks viewed as an embarrassment and an obstacle to joining the European Union. The speedy court decision was seen as a step toward securing greater freedom of speech, but critics said that until the law was abolished, Turkey would remain a place where authors were regularly put on trial. Analysts said the government was reluctant to change the law because it had broad support.
April 26, 2006 | From Reuters
Seven young artists sued New York City on Tuesday over its strict anti-graffiti law, saying it violated their constitutional right to free speech. The group, backed by fashion designer Mark Ecko, argued in federal court that the city went too far by banning people who are younger than 21 from possessing spray paint or broad-tipped markers.
April 21, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Abortion rights advocates argued before an appeals court in St. Louis that a South Dakota law requiring abortion doctors to warn patients about the procedure forces physicians to give inaccurate information and infringes on their free-speech rights. A panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the challenge by Planned Parenthood of South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.
April 2, 2006 | Richard B. Schmitt, Times Staff Writer
Federal prosecutors, trumpeting the indictment last year of two pro-Israel lobbyists who allegedly obtained U.S. defense secrets from a former Pentagon analyst, said the men had crossed a "clear line in the law." But that line is turning out to be not so clear, and the government's high-profile case might be unraveling. A federal judge is considering throwing out or reducing the charges before the ex-lobbyists' trial begins this month. Last week, U.S. District Judge T.S.
March 7, 2006 | Abigail Goldman, Times Staff Writer
Computer store owner Charles Smith is the first to admit the T-shirts and mugs he designed to lampoon Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are in bad taste. But Smith had wanted to make a point by comparing the giant retail company to the Nazis. So he created slogans playing off the Bentonville, Ark., firm's familiar logo, including "I {heart} WAL*OCAUST. They have family values and their alcohol, tobacco and firearms are 20% off." Wal-Mart wasn't amused.
February 22, 2006 | From Reuters
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a free-speech challenge by two tobacco companies over California's anti-smoking ads. Reynolds American Inc.'s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit and Loews Corp.'s Lorillard Tobacco unit argued that the ads were unconstitutional because the tobacco companies were being forced to pay for advertisements that criticized the industry.
February 10, 2006 | Maggie Farley, Times Staff Writer
Secretary-General Kofi Annan chastised newspapers Thursday that continue to publish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad in the face of the religious controversy the drawings have ignited. "Honestly, I do not understand why any newspaper will publish the cartoons today," he told reporters at the United Nations. "It is insensitive, it is offensive, it is provocative, and they should see what has happened around the world.
February 1, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
After protests outside Parliament, British lawmakers watered down a bill banning religious hate speech, then narrowly approved it. Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted to make it a criminal offense to incite religious hatred through threatening words or actions, insults and abuse. The upper chamber eliminated the ban on insults and abuse, and inserted a provision allowing proselytizing, discussion, criticism and ridicule of religion, belief or religious practice.
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