First Amendment Victory Mysteriously Disappeared by Mainstream Media
May 2nd, 2008 by Phyllis Chesler – Pajamas Media
On Thursday, New York State Governor David Paterson signed “Rachel’s (incredible) Law” into being. Rachel Ehrenfeld issued a press release which you may read below.
 
Although I am still recovering from surgery, I wrote to congratulate her. I asked whether she was inundated by media requests and publishing offers. To date, Rachel has received no requests for interviews. As far as she knows, there are no articles in the works about her extraordinary victory on behalf of the First Amendment. Absent extensive media coverage, Rachel’s chances of raising monies for the next legal go-round are compromised.
 
The silence speaks volumes. Please write about this. Ask others to do so as well. It is crucial that this bill be widely understood and reported.
 
The Libel Terrorism Protection Act, also known as RACHEL’s LAW, signed by Governor Patterson:
 
Albany, NY (May 1, 2008) — New York State Governor David Paterson yesterday signed the “Libel Terrorism Protection Act” (S.6687/A.9652), which on March 31 passed the state’s Assembly and Senate unanimously.
 
Also known as Rachel’s Law, the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) will protect American journalists and authors from foreign lawsuits that infringe on First Amendment rights. The bill also received unprecedented support from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
 
“New Yorkers must be able to speak out on issues of public concern without living in fear that they will be sued outside the United States, under legal standards inconsistent with our First Amendment rights,” said Governor Paterson.  “This legislation will help ensure of the freedoms enjoyed by New York authors.”
 
Reflecting the New York legislation’s importance, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on April 16 introduced a  similar bill, the Freedom of Speech Protection Act (H.R. 5814), in the House of Represenatives.
 
In Ehrenfeld v. Mahfouz, New York State’s highest court held that it was unable to protect Dr. Ehrenfeld from a British lawsuit filed by Saudi billionaire Khalid Salim Bin Mahfouz. Britain’s High Court ordered her to pay over $225,000 in damages and legal fees to Bin Mahfouz, apologize and destroy copies of her books.
 
Instead, November 2006, Dr. Ehrenfeld sought a U.S. federal court order to protect her constitutional rights. But a New York Court of Appeals ruling with national implications sent legal shockwaves throughout American newsrooms. Read more here: http://www.acdemocracy.org/article/invent_index.php?id=581


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