Bi-partisan Challenge To Ohio's Online Harassment Law
Several on-line commentators from opposite ends of the political spectrum have joined forces to challenge the constitutionality of an Ohio law prohibiting internet harassment. From member station WOSU, Sam Hendren reports.
The federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. It alleges that a prohibition against knowingly posting text or audio statements or images on a website or web page for the purpose of abusing or harassing someone violates the commentators' rights to free speech and expression.
The Portage County Tea Party’s Tom Zawistowski says the law’s wording is imprecise.
"The vagueness of this statute is totally subjective. It does not define what is abusing, what is threatening or harassing language."
Another plaintiff is the author of the liberal blog Plunderbund.
The parties contend that they "routinely engage" in protected speech that "may be considered provocative," which now subjects them to "a credible risk of prosecution."
A First Amendment legal scholar at UCLA initiated the action.