In a recent feature, the editorial board of The New York Times condemned the January 1, 2016 enactment of North Carolina’s ag-gag law, which now makes it illegal to expose factory farming abuses in one of the country’s largest pork producing states. In its second op-ed on the topic, The New York Times (NYT) stated that North Carolina’s new law is “a clear violation of the constitutional freedoms of speech and the press.” Under the new law, individuals that conduct undercover investigations and then share them with the public will be subject to a fine of $5,000 per day of footage. The NYT pointed out that “the public has relied on journalists and activists to expose dangerous abuses and misconduct by businesses” and closed the piece with the powerful statement that “the secrecy promoted by ag-gag laws should have no place in American society.” In November, a federal judge ruled Idaho’s version of the law unconstitutional on the grounds of free speech, and Matthew Liebman—the attorney who fought to take down the law—is working to do the same in the remaining states that currently have ag-gag statutes (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Washington, and North Carolina).
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