Ohio political commentators sue over online harassment ban

By Julie Carr Smyth - Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A group of liberal and conservative online political commentators in Ohio has filed a constitutional challenge to the state’s recently enacted law against internet harassment.

The federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. It alleges that a prohibition against knowingly posting text or audio statements or images on a website or web page for the purpose of abusing or harassing someone violates the commentators’ rights to free speech and expression.

The plaintiffs in the suit include the liberal blog Plunderbund, the Portage County Tea Party and freelance political reporter John Spinelli. They contend that they “routinely engage” in protected speech that “may be considered provocative,” which now subjects them to “a credible risk of prosecution.”

A First Amendment legal scholar at UCLA initiated the action.


By Julie Carr Smyth

Associated Press

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