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Ask an Attorney: Responding to requests to take down content

In the digital age, somebody’s worst moment can be the first result a Google search returns on them, potentially forever. Increasingly, news publishers are being asked to take down content that the person making the request wants the world to forget. Whether the profession of journalism—the self-proclaimed “first draft of history”—should be in the business of unpublishing yesterday’s news presents thorny practical, ethical, and even existential dilemmas.

By CHIP STEWART, Texas Christian University, and DEBORAH L. DWYER, Reynolds Journalism Institute

First Amendment Protections for Journalists Covering Protests

The killing of George Floyd and the ensuing civil unrest have placed journalists at the center of large-scale protests and demonstrations across the United States, including in major metropolitan centers throughout Texas.  In the course of covering these protests, many journalists have found themselves in harm’s way, and members of the press corps have been assaulted, detained, or arrested in the line of duty.

Political advertising and social media

The Texas Ethics Commission recently revised rules regulating disclosures in online political advertising. Among other changes, the new rule exempts political advertising shared or re-posted on social media by persons other than a candidate or political committee from general requirements to disclose the message as political advertising and to identify the candidate or person responsible for the ad.

By Paul C. Watler

‘The Litigation Exception:’ A strange creature of darkness in government

Section 552.103 of the Texas Public Information Act—the “litigation exception”—is a uniquely strange exception to “prompt” disclosure of public information. Generally, it permits a governmental body to withhold information “relating to litigation of a civil or criminal nature” in which the government is, or may become, a party, viewed as of the date a requestor asks for the information.

Know the state's rules before launching drones in Texas

Alicia Calzada, ALICIA CALZADA, Hayes and Boone, LLP


Q: “How do the new FAA rules on the use of drones affect Texas newspapers? I thought we had a state law that pretty much prohibits use of drones for media photography.”

A: The journalism world celebrated this summer when the Federal Aviation Administration enacted its long-awaited drone rules, clearing the way for the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones) for newsgathering.

Texas Supreme Court Opinions Firm Up Anti-SLAPP Rights For Online Journalists | Jackson Walker - JDSupra

For freedom of speech and the press to thrive in an online world, the First Amendment must continue as the unabated pillar of the right to robust debate on issues of public concern. More comprehensive progress toward First Amendment protection of the news media remains overdue from the Lone Star State's highest court, but the pair of recent opinions gave online journalism conferees a reason to raise a stein of Shiner Bock.