The right to freedom of speech and to freedom of the press have become more important now than ever before. In the United States of America, and in the U.S. States of Washington, Nevada, and others, which are among the locales where Studio 2.8 photography operates, the fundamental and essential rights of: freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; are codified in the both the U.S. Constitution and in the state constitutions of these U.S. States. For example, Article 1 Section 5 of the Washington State Constitution states in part that:
“every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects”
Similarly, Article 1 Section 8 of the Nevada Constitution states in pertinent part that:
“Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects … and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press”.
Both these state constitutional rights clauses expound upon the codification of these foundational and inalienable rights as they exist in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment whose relevant portion states that:
“Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ...”
These rights, among the numerous inalienable rights that comprise the bedrock of American ethical canon, are also bolstered by Washington State statutory law, wherein WA RCW 5.68.010(5) defines “news media” as:
(a) Any newspaper, magazine or other periodical, book publisher, news agency, wire service, radio or television station or network, cable or satellite station or network, or audio or audiovisual production company, or any entity that is in the regular business of news gathering and disseminating news or information to the public by any means, including, but not limited to, print, broadcast, photographic, mechanical, internet, or electronic distribution;
(b) Any person who is or has been an employee, agent, or independent contractor of any entity listed in (a) of this subsection, who is or has been engaged in bona fide news gathering for such entity, and who obtained or prepared the news or information that is sought while serving in that capacity;
The Washington State statutory clarification of the scope of people and organizations that comprise press and media goes beyond “traditional” media to encompass the many burgeoning and transformative media and press producers that redefine media in current twenty-first century mass communication. Recently, and of great importance, the Ninth Circuit of the Federal Court of Appeals also clarified and affirmed that new media is media/press just as are “traditional” media (newspapers, radio, television), and that these contemporary media forms are constitutionally protected just as are the traditional media and press forms that have been historically in the United States. The name of this important, legal precedent setting, Ninth Circuit ruling is - Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284, 1294 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 134 S.Ct. 2680 (2014).
The inalienable rights of people and organizations that publish information is under greater threat, and a greater variety of threats, than ever before. Now more than ever, these rights must be valued and protected.