Week 8 Media Law – Blog 8

Media Law Case

David Bahk

In 2015 the highest court in the land, Supreme Court took on a case called Elonis v. United States. This case was a dispute on whether threats on social media is or is not fair grounds for suing. Mr. Elonis repeatedly on Facebook would make horrific to even dangerous statements, like his fantasy of murdering a FBI agent, he even made lyrical threat to his own wife! He was then taken to court for the comments he posted on social media website, Facebook. Mr. Elonis lawyer sided that Mr. Elonis was exercising his First Amendment of free speech.

The Supreme Court ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove Mr. Elonis speech was actual real intent of malice or danger. Mr. Elonis was simply using his right to free speech whether on or off social media. In general, the decision the Supreme Court came to makes grounds for prosecution of speech on social media much harder. Despite Mr. Elonis disgusting comments and threats, this is simply him exercising his free speech, I happen to agree with the Supreme Court. We as a government should not be able to limit ones freedom of speech even if it is hateful rhetoric. But, if there was actual evidence that Mr. Elonis was planning to buy a gun to murder the FBI agent, then without a doubt he would have lost the court case!


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