In a landmark ruling issued yesterday federal judge denied a Fox News motion to dismiss that had been brought on the basis of statute called the Illinois Citizen's Participation Act ("ILCPA").
The ruling stated that while the ILCPA constitutes substantive state law, it cannot be used to abrogate federal rules. Citizens Participation Acts have been adopted in over 26 states through the backing of powerful media lobbyists in an attempt to give the media absolute immunity-even when they engage in what attorney R. Tamara de Silva calls, "make believe tabloid journalism."
Attorney R. Tamara de Silva explains, "any legislation designed to have a chilling affect on free speech would conceivably be an assault on the First Amendment. The Illinois Citizen Participation Act is disguised as a measure to protect the public's right to free and open debate; yet it has the very opposite effect. We are giving the media a very privileged position to pillory the right of privacy and get away, in some instances, with the very worst examples of tabloid journalism and the unconscionable propagation of untruth."
"This ruling gives us the opportunity to proceed, and to take evidence in our defamation claim against, among others, the local Fox affiliate. Obviously the right to speak freely, and to petition the government are cornerstones of our democratic way of life. But that doesn't give license to the media to publish salacious lies, call it journalism, and hide behind so-called constitutional protections. We're excited to have been given the opportunity to hold Fox accountable to at least a modicum of journalistic integrity," attorney Jonathan Lubin said.