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FTRF Board of Trustees election results

Posted By FTRF Staff, Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Friday, July 27, 2012

In the April election, five trustees were elected to two-year terms on the Freedom to Read Foundation Board:

Carol Brey-Casiano (Brasilia, Brazil) is an information resource officer at theU.S.Embassy in Brazil and is a past president of the American Library Association.

Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. (Washington, D.C.) is an information research specialist at the Library of Congress.

Mary Minow (Cupertino, Calif.) is a library law consultant and is Follett Chair at Dominican University's Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Judith Platt (Washington, D.C.) is the director of free expression advocacy at the Association of American Publishers.

Nancy P. Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C.) is associate dean for academic affairs at The Graduate School, University of South Carolina.

Brey-Casiano, Minow, and Platt were re-elected. Jefferson and Zimmerman were newly elected (Jefferson served previously on the board as an ex-officio member due to his status as chair of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee).

The newly elected trustees joined the following members to form the FTRF Board for 2012–2013:

Helen Adams

Jonathan Bloom

Chris Finan

Christine Jenkins

Herbert Krug

Candace Morgan

Ex-Officio members of the 2012–2013 FTRF Board:

Maureen Sullivan, ALA President

Pat Scales, ALA IFC Chair, 2011–2012

Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Executive Director

Barbara Stripling, ALA President-Elect

Barbara M. Jones is the FTRF secretary and executive director. The officers for 2012­–2013 will be selected at the FTRF Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA on June 21.

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FTRF Board Approves Strategic Plan

Posted By Kent Oliver, FTRF President, Friday, March 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, July 27, 2012

At the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Midwinter Meeting in January, the Board of Trustees approved a strategic plan to help us map out our strategies for the coming years. We have reprinted the bulk of the plan on pages 4–5 of this issue of Freedom to Read Foundation News.

The entire plan, including background and details of our "SWOT” analysis, can be found at www.ftrf.org.

The strategic plan addresses five critical action areas: awareness, litigation, education, engagement, and capacity building. Specific objectives include strategies to increase FTRF’s membership both within and beyond the library world; to develop a more proactive legal strategy that will see FTRF taking the lead as the plaintiff in critical lawsuits intended to protect and preserve First Amendment rights; to expand FTRF’s educational mission; and to identify and mentor the next generation of intellectual freedom leaders. We have already begun the process of implementing the plan, with work underway toward a new and improved website, better membership materials, and educational programs for attorneys, librarians, and library students.

My thanks to ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels (who serves on the FTRF Board in an ex-officio capacity), Executive Director Barbara Jones, and the rest of the Board from the past two years for their hard work in producing what I feel is a vital road map for this truly irreplaceable organization.

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U.S. v. Alvarez: Supreme Court considers “right to lie”

Posted By FTRF Staff, Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, July 27, 2012
On February 22, the U.S. Supreme Court held a hearing on the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which makes it a federal crime to falsely represent oneself to have been awarded a military medal or ribbon. The Freedom to Read Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief in this case, asking the Court to overturn the Act on the grounds that the law creates a new category of unprotected speech that is contrary to long-standing legal precedents holding that the First Amendment protects non-fraudulent, non-defamatory false speech.

Xavier Alvarez was indicted in 2007 after he falsely told an audience, among several other lies, that he had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Alvarez pleaded guilty on the condition that he be allowed to appeal on First Amendment grounds. In August 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Alvarez’s conviction and found the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional in a 2–1 decision. (Notably, in U.S. v. Hinkston, a similar case in Colorado, the Tenth Circuit in 2011 upheld the Stolen Valor Act in a 2–1 ruling.)

FTRF’s amicus brief, filed with other members of the Media Coalition, argues that, unlike in cases of defamation and fraud, there is no exception to the First Amendment for a government-imposed "test of truth,” and that enforcement of such a test would chill the speech of law-abiding media and other entities that distribute information. Exaggerations or even mistakes are not exempted from the Stolen Valor Act.

Other organizations filing briefs in support of Mr. Alvarez include the ACLU, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. Those filing amicus briefs in support of the government include the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and attorneys general of 20 states.

All the briefs in the case, along with the transcript of the oral argument, can be found at www.mediacoalition.org.

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