“This is a blatant violation of the First Amendment,” Public Citizen president Robert Weissman wrote in an email to supporters. “Users attempting to access Public Citizen’s website though the department’s guest wireless networks receive a message that access is ‘in violation of your internet usage policy.’ We requested the department’s policy for blocking access to internet sites, but it hasn’t responded to our request.”
“What we do know,” Weissman continued, “is that our website contains lots of information critical of DeVos and the department.”
BREAKING: We just sued the Department of Education for blocking our website on their networks — a blatant violation of the First Amendment.
We’ve been highly critical of Betsy Devos for putting students at the mercy of predatory for-profit colleges. We won't let her silence us. pic.twitter.com/oHBeTu3YW8
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) April 9, 2019
Public Citizen filed its complaint (pdf) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of David Halperin, a Public Citizen board member who frequently attends meetings at the Department of Education and uses its Wi-Fi network.
The organization’s filing alleges that the Department of Education is violating both the First Amendment and the Administrative Procedure Act by blocking access to its website.
“The department and DeVos have no legitimate justification for blocking access to Public Citizen’s website,” the group said in a press release. “Public Citizen’s website includes material on a wide range of issues, including information critical of the department and DeVos… Public Citizen also uses its website to inform the public about litigation, including litigation involving DeVos and the department.”
Public Citizen is seeking “a court order declaring the department’s and DeVos’s action unlawful and enjoining them from blocking access” to its site.
“No way are we going to let them get away with suppressing our views,” Weissman said.
This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.
Since you’re here…
…We have a small favor to ask. Fewer and fewer people are seeing Anti-Media articles as social media sites crack down on us, and advertising revenues across the board are quickly declining. However, unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall because we value open and accessible journalism over profit — but at this point, we’re barely even breaking even. Hopefully, you can see why we need to ask for your help. Anti-Media’s independent journalism and analysis takes substantial time, resources, and effort to produce, but we do it because we believe in our message and hope you do, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting and finds value in it helps fund it, our future can be much more secure. For as little as $1 and a minute of your time, you can support Anti-Media. Thank you. Click here to support us