Supreme Court ruling bodes well for unjustly convicted NC journalists

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Body camera footage showing Asheville Blade journalist Matilda Bliss's press pass. Bliss and colleague Veronica Coit were convicted of trespassing for recording police evicting unhoused people from a public park.

In a recent decision, the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for individuals to sue if they can prove they were retaliated against for exercising First Amendment rights. For Asheville journalists Veronica Coit and Matilda Bliss — who were arrested and convicted for covering a police sweep of a homeless encampment at a public park — the court’s ruling bolsters their appeal of their conviction, as well as any lawsuit they may eventually file.

Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) Advocacy Intern Jimena Pinzon and Advocacy Director Seth Stern wrote for the Asheville Citizen Times about why this decision should give Bliss and Coit hope.

Last week’s decision is a win for press freedom nationwide because it empowers reporters who are needlessly arrested and prosecuted to seek justice in court. Officials in Asheville should take note and start thinking about cutting settlement checks and, more importantly, reforming their anti-speech practices going forward.

You can read the full op-ed here.

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