Federal Judge Rules Controversial Ag-Gag Law Violates The First Amendment
A federal judge in the US has ruled that a controversial ag-gag law is in violation of the First Amendment.
The law, which was introduced by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2015 to prohibit filming or photographing on private property, carries with it fines of up to $5,000, or even jail time.
US District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder has ruled the law a violation of the rights which the First Amendment grants — such as freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.
In general, ag-gag laws — which have been widely criticized by animal welfare organizations — primarily criminalize those who conduct undercover investigations on factory farms.
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Similar laws exist in other places across the US, with a number of states having implemented them and then reversing the decision.
Opponents to the laws argue that they don’t just apply to animal rights investigations, as they also prevent people from holding individuals and organizations accountable for wrongdoing.
“Punished For Documenting Evidence”
“If whistleblowers (and other would-be sources) are punished for documenting evidence of dangerous, illegal, or unethical activity that they encounter, journalists will not be able to do their jobs effectively,” claimed a legal brief against the law in North Carolina.
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Tags: Ag-Gag, Ag-Gag Laws, Animal welfare, factory farms, First Amendment, Law, North Carolina, Thomas Schroeder, undercover investigation