Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

NY Supreme Court Rules Online Coverage Protected Speech

Praises Electronic Frontier Foundation Court Brief

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 10, 2001

San Francisco - The Supreme Court of New York agreed with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Dec. 5 that online journalists have the same First Amendment protections as offline journalists.

The court dismissed a case seeking to hold Narconews.com liable for defamation for its coverage of claims that the president of the Banamex, the Bank of Mexico, was engaging in the drug trade.

"This court finds that Narco News is a media defendant and is entitled to heightened protection under the First Amendment," the decision states.

"We're pleased that the court flatly rejected attempts to treat Internet reporters differently than reporters in the real world," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.

The EFF had filed an amicus brief in support of Narconews.com in the case brought by Banamex, referred to by the court decision.

"Banamex attempted to squash Narco News Bulletin's right to freely report public interest news," commented Thomas Lesser, attorney for Narconews.com. "By ruling that bare allegations alone cannot support a defamation lawsuit, the judge properly dismissed the case outright, recognizing that defamation lawsuits by their nature chill First Amendment rights."


Documents related to the Narconews.com case:

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression, privacy, and openness in the information society. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most linked-to Web sites in the world:


Cindy Cohn, EFF Legal Director
  +1 415-436-9333 x108
Thomas Lesser, attorney at Lesser, Newman, Souweine & Nasser
Attorney for Narconews.com
  +1 413 584-7331

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