ACLU files lawsuit against Puerto Rico’s ‘fake news’ laws

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Protesters listen to a broadcast from inside the governor's mansion on their mobile phones as expectations remained high that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló would step down on July 24, 2019 in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Protesters listen to a broadcast from inside the governor’s mansion on their mobile phones as expectations remained high that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló would step down on July 24, 2019 in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a Puerto Rico law that makes it a crime to share information about emergencies on the island that the U.S. territory’s government considers “fake news.”

The ACLU said Wednesday that the two laws violate the First and 14th Amendments, have a chilling effect on the reporting of the COVID-19 crisis and other emergencies and leave journalists vulnerable if the government disputes their reporting.

The laws apply only to things said about emergency conditions in Puerto Rico and the government’s emergency response measures.

The ACLU noted that the government doesn’t have to prove that the speaker knew what they were saying was false.

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