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Just posted: March 2014 FTRF News

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Monday, March 31, 2014
FTRF members should have received by now their March issue of Freedom to Read Foundation News in the mail. This issue includes details on our most recent case, SBAL v. Driehaus, a rundown of the recent battle over The House of the Spirits in a North Carolina school, and Executive Director Barbara Jones' article on intellectual freedom issues in academia.

This issue is now also available online to members and organizational subscribers.  To access the current issue, you must be signed in as a member. Log-in instructions are available at

FTRF News back issues, from 1991 to December 2013, are available to members and non-members with no log-in required.

If you're not a current member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, as always we encourage you to join now or renew your membership! We very much appreciate the support of our members. You make our work possible!

Tags:  FTRF News  member benefits 

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June FTRF News online

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Thursday, June 20, 2013

The June 2013 issue of the Freedom to Read Foundation News is in the mail - and has been posted online.  Our quarterly publication is available as a benefit to all current FTRF members, as well as to organizations who subscribe.  To access the current issue, you must be signed in as a member.  Sign-in directions are at  the top right corner of this page.  (Back issues, from 1991 to March 2013, are available to members and non-members.)

This issue has the latest information on the Chicago Public Schools' controversy over the graphic novel Persepolis, profiles of the many spring FTRF "winners" (Roll of Honor Award, Conable Scholarship, Krug Fund Banned Books Week grants, and the trustee elections), and information about FTRF's upcoming ALA Annual Conference activities (including the Member Reception with Sara Paretsky). We hope you enjoy this issue - we'd love your feedback (in the comments here, on Twitter, or shoot us an email)!

If you're not a 2013 member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, take this opportunity to become one!

Tags:  Chicago Public Schools  ConableJudith Krug Memorial Fund  FTRF news  Roll of Honor  Sara Paretsky 

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March 2013 issue of FTRF News now available

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Thursday, March 14, 2013

FTRF's quarterly publication, Freedom to Read Foundation News, is made available in print and online as a benefit to FTRF members.  The most recent issue, March 2013, is now posted - to access it, just log on to your member profile.  If you have not renewed your membership for 2013, you'll get a prompt to do so.

If you are not yet a member, we encourage you to join today!

This issue features articles on the recent victory in the Utah book banning case; remembrances of Carolyn Forsman and Russell Shank; and an article by member Adriana McCleer about the Downs Award-winning Librotraficante and the Tucson Unified School District controversy. 

Past issues, including the December 2012 issue, are available to everyone at

Questions? Please contact Jonathan Kelley at or (312) 280-4226.

Tags:  Carolyn Forsman  FTRF News  Russell Shank  Tucson  Utah 

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The state of free speech in 2013: an excerpt

Posted By Michael A. Bamberger, Friday, January 18, 2013

In this excerpt from his front-page article from the most recent Freedom to Read Foundation News, attorney Michael A. Bamberger gives his thoughts on the state of free speech in 2013. FTRF members can read the entire article online at  FTRF News is issued quarterly to all members of the Freedom to Read Foundation and to newsletter subscribers.

The beginning of a new calendar year following both presidential and local elections is a good time for all of us engaged in the regular day-to-day protection of First Amendment rights in individual situations to step back and consider, more broadly, where we are and where attacks on free speech rights are likely to occur in 2013.

National issues

Looking back at the 2012 party platforms, it is interesting that, while the 2008 Democratic platform spoke of enabling parents to block content objectionable to them on TV and online, and of increasing enforcement resources to counter child predators on the Internet, the 2012 Democratic platform mentioned neither of these matters. The 2012 Republican platform called for vigorous enforcement of all forms of pornography and obscenity statutes, but it is notable that First Amendment issues were not central to the campaign of either candidate. Perhaps this reflects the fact that recently there has been less pressure at the federal level to pass censorial legislation. Thus, it is likely that, at the federal level, during 2013, there will not be extensions of laws directly criminalizing speech.

However the continuing unnecessary classification, as "secret,” of federal governmental speech and extensions of the scope of privacy laws also constitute restrictions on free speech. In each case there is a countervailing interest, but both classification and privacy laws can be used to limit communication and discussion of matters of public interest and concern. Those of us concerned with free speech must be alert to the dangers of such extensions.

With respect to Internet freedom, all this is complicated by the global nature of the medium. The First Amendment does not apply to those outside our borders. Governmental restrictions elsewhere in the world, particularly restrictions not obviously censorious (such as privacy restrictions, which are broader in other parts of the world including the UK and the EU), can have significant chilling effects on US-based speakers on the Internet, especially speakers who have a presence in the relevant foreign jurisdiction.


Michael Bamberger is General Counsel of the Media Coalition. Among his many cases, he served as counsel in Hudnut v. American Booksellers Association, a challenge to an overly restrictive Indianapolis anti-pornography ordinance. In 1985, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts’ decisions to strike down the ordinance as unconstitutional.

Bamberger was the recipient of FTRF’s Roll of Honor Award in 2012.

Tags:  2013  free speech  FTRF News  Media Coalition  Michael Bamberger 

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