Brechner News

Frank LoMonte Authors Book Chapter on Section 230 and Social Media Companies

Posted: June 11, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is the author of “The Legal Landscape: The First Amendment, Section 230 and Online Liability,” a chapter in the book Democracy in the Disinformation Age published in May 2021. In the chapter, LoMonte looks at the ways social media companies have benefited from strategically walking the line between “publisher” status, when the First Amendment protection afforded to publishers is advantageous to them, versus “common carrier” status, which insulates them against liability. According to LoMonte, “This chapter investigates and critiques leading theories of responsibility,…

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Frank LoMonte Comments on Supreme Court Case That Could Limit Student Athletes’ First Amendment Rights

Posted: May 19, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is quoted in “’Angry Cheerleader’ Case Could Chill NCAA Athletes’ Protests” published in Law360 on May 18. The article focuses on a pending U.S. Supreme Court case over whether schools may discipline students for social media posts under the First Amendment, which may give public universities the ability to further restrict college athletes’ online speech. “If the Supreme Court equips colleges with a new weapon to silence whistleblowers, they are going to use it,” said LoMonte. “They are going to use it to…

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Frank LoMonte Authors Article on Protecting Media Whistleblowing About Workplace Safety

Posted: May 18, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is the author of “When a Leak Becomes a Lifeline: Reinvigorating Federal Labor Law to Protect Media Whistleblowing About Workplace Safety” published in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice on May 14. In the article, LoMonte builds on research previously published by the Brechner Center about how gag orders on employees in the private sector are just as illegal as those in the public sector. It focuses on the health care sector and a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board in…

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Frank LoMonte Comments on Secretive Learfield IMG College Deals

Posted: May 17, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is quoted in “Secret Documents Reveal Learfield IMG’s Take From College Deals” published in Sportico on May 11. The article focuses on multimedia rights partnerships that some college sports programs have with Learfield IMG College licenses. Details of the arrangements have been kept private for the most part until now. “The trade-secret exemption is probably the single most abused and distorted of all freedom-of-information exemptions,” said LoMonte. “If open records laws mean anything at all, they mean that the public gets to see…

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Frank LoMonte Chosen for Prestigious Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellowship

Posted: May 6, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, was selected for the prestigious 2021-2022 Class of Fellows at the University of California (UC) National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. The fourth class of fellows, selected from a highly competitive pool, represents graduate students and faculty from across the U.S. Over the course of a year, this cohort will research complex topics such as the roles of bias response teams, pornography and free speech, and censorship in humanities curricula and academic museums and galleries. LoMonte’s project will focus on the…

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Frank LoMonte Comments on Student Speech Case to be Heard by the U.S. Supreme Court

Posted: April 27, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, was quoted in “A Cheerleader’s Snapchat Rant Leads to ‘Momentous’ Supreme Court Case on Student Speech” published in The Washington Post on April 25. The story focuses on the case, Brandi Levy vs. Mahanoy Area School District, that will now be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. It could determine how the First Amendment’s protection of free speech applies to the off-campus activities of the nation’s 50 million public school students. “This may seem like a very narrow case about a minor temper…

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Frank LoMonte Featured in Free Speech Podcast and Comments on Secrecy in University President Searches

Posted: April 22, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, was a participant in the podcast “So to Speak: A Frustrated Cheerleader’s Snapchat Video Lands at the Supreme Court. The Outcome will Determine the Future of Student Free Speech Rights” posted on thefire.org on April 22. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE) So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast discussion featured LoMonte, FIRE’s Vice President of Communications Nico Perrino and FIRE Program Officer Lindsie Rank, discussing the April 28 U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. The…

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Frank LoMonte Comments on Florida Public Record Request Delays

Posted: April 20, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, was quoted in “Want Public Records? ‘So Sue Me’ Seems to Be State’s Attitude, First Amendment Experts Say” published in the Tallahassee Democrat on April 16. The article focuses on the delays encountered when requesting Florida public records for vital information on COVID-19. “It really has come down to the public insisting on greater transparency. In the absence of fact-based verifiable information, the time of a public health emergency is the time to double down on transparency and assertively push out information,” said…

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Frank LoMonte Comments on “Cops as Victims” Florida Court Ruling

Posted: April 14, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, was quoted in “Cops as ‘Victims’ Court Ruling Means an Officer Like Derek Chauvin Would be Anonymous in Florida” published on floridabulldog.org on April 13. The article addresses how an adverse court ruling may allow police officers to keep their names secret even after being involved in a high-profile use of force. In response to the ruling, the Brechner Center has signed onto a brief in the Florida First District Court of Appeal DCA case, Florida Police Benevolent Association, John Doe 1 and…

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Brechner Center Podcast “Why Don’t We Know” Receives Education Writers Association Award

Posted: April 13, 2021

Sara Ganim, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information Hearst Journalism Fellow, Brechner Center Director Frank LoMonte, and a team students and alumni are the recipients of the 2020 Education Writers Association (EWA) Award in the Smaller Newsroom Public Service category for their “Why Don’t We Know” investigative podcast on education records. The Education Records podcast, which is the 10th in a series of 13 podcasts, explores the case of four women who were victims of sexual violence and claimed their universities kept their own education records from them — in clear violation of…

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