Senator Golden Fights For Protection Of Free Speech In Foreign Courts

Martin J. Golden

January 22, 2008

Yesterday, Senator Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) joined Senator Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman (D-Queens) at a press conference at the New York Public Library to support the passage of Senate Bill 6687 – The Libel Terrorism Protection Act.

This act comes in response to the rash of lawsuits filed against writers, journalists, producers and editors in foreign courts, seeking to penalize them for creating and publishing media contrary to their terrorist ideals. "Those who support terror are using these foreign courts because they don’t have the same protections for individuals such as the First Amendment, protection of free speech," said Golden. "These terrorists should not be waging was in courts. They should not be stifling one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed to Americans."

Under the proposed legislation, foreign defamation rulings against writers and journalists would be declared unenforceable in New York provided the free speech protections guaranteed under the United States Constitution are not provided for under the foreign law.

"Terrorists don’t just hate Americans, they hate what America stands for and are now going after the fundamental freedoms that built this great nation," said Golden. "If we allow these rulings to hold, we are allowing terrorists to change our way of life. I believe that passing this legislation should be one of the legislature’s earliest priorities this Session. My colleagues and I want to give the New York Court of Appeals the tool it needs to protect the citizens of the Greatest State in the Greatest Nation in the world. We are starting this fight in New York, but it is our hope that this bill becomes a national model for other states or for Congress."