The “Stop Guilt By Accusation Act,” which dictates news coverage of proceedings, is in direct opposition to the First Amendment’s protection of free expression.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2021
NEW YORK—In Montana, House Bill 711, the Stop Guilt By Accusation Act, was passed in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill, introduced on March 29, was sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Noland and requires that media outlets adhere to strict procedure when reporting on certain proceedings. The bill was drafted in an effort to prevent selective reporting, which could cause a person to be unfairly shunned by the public. The committee voted 12-7 in support of House Bill 711, with all Republicans voting in favor of the bill and all Democrats in opposition. Freedom of information lawyer Mike Meloy, one of multiple experts to criticize the unconstitutional nature of the bill, will represent many media outlets, including the Daily Montanan, in a lawsuit against the Montana House Judiciary Committee.
Teens for Press Freedom Cofounder Isabel Tribe said, “The ‘Stop Guilt by Accusation Act’ is a blatant infringement on the freedoms of speech and expression enshrined in the First Amendment. The government has no jurisdiction over the free press, including deciding what news sources can or cannot publish. This bill is a shocking contrast to Montana Republicans’ emphasis on limited government involvement and represents a high level of large-scale government interference in the free press that has not been seen since the Fairness Doctrine. TPF supports the lawsuit brought against the House Judiciary Committee and urges the Montana state government to act swiftly in repealing this appalling legislation.”
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Source: The Missoula Current
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