Would-Be Advertiser Loses Free-Speech Claim

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A former editor does not have a free-speech right to place whistleblower solicitation advertisements in the Department of Defense’s Civilian Enterprise Newspapers, the D.C. Circuit ruled.




     The court dismissed the constitutional claim brought by Larry Bryant, a former civilian editor for the Office of the Chief of Army Public Affairs, who for 20 years tried unsuccessfully to get his ads published in the military newspaper. He filed suit after the government rejected a series of seven ads with titles such as “Blow the Whistle on Iraqnam’s Battle-of-Baghdad Cover-up!” and “Blow the Whistle on ALL atrocities at Abu Ghraib!”
     Military public affairs officials turned down each ad, citing a Defense Department rule banning partisan discussions and political advertisements in government publications.
     Bryant claimed the regulation violates his constitution right to free expression.
     Judge Ginsburg ruled that the ban on political ads is well-defined, viewpoint-neutral and narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.

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