On October 26, the Alliance joined a brief in Banks v. Hoffman, filed in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The case involves three retired military psychologists suing the American Psychological Association (“APA”) and Sidley Austin LLP alleging they were falsely accused of promoting torture in a report about the Bush Administration’s use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Superior Court granted the defendants’ special motions to dismiss under D.C.’s Anti-SLAPP Act. The Court of Appeals then reversed the Superior Court’s dismissal and invalidated the discovery-limiting provision of the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act. The amicus brief, filed by RCFP, argues that the appeals court should grant the petition for rehearing and reverse the panel’s decision invalidating the discovery-limiting provision. It also argues that the panel erred in reversing the Superior Court’s finding that the plaintiffs were public officials for purposes of defamation law and its holding that a hyperlink without more was not a republication. Both holdings could have significant impact for news and magazine media that rely on these key statutory protections and principles for free speech. Read more.
Charlotte McBirney is Senior Counsel and Director, Public Policy for the News/Media Alliance.