Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Wasden and Newsgathering: More Significant Than It Appears
Communications Lawyer, 2018
2 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 1, 2018
In a decision released in January 2018, Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Wasden, the Ninth Circuit held portions of Idaho’s so-called “ag-gag” statute — a law designed to thwart undercover investigation of the agricultural industry — unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Among other things, the court invalidated a provision of the statute criminalizing the making of audio and video recordings without the consent of a facility’s owner. Wasden’s implications are significant, and not confined to the ag-gag context. The decision appears to mark the first time a federal circuit has extended constitutional protection to core newsgathering activities beyond recording police activity in public and could portend a serious reshaping of First Amendment newsgathering jurisprudence.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation