(MIAMI)— Two bills introduced in the Florida Legislature today, HB 757 and SB 1780, are blatant attempts to undermine freedom of the press, PEN America warned today, saying it opposes both.

Katie Blankenship, director of PEN America’s Florida office, said: “These bills seek to instill fear in journalists and their sources, chilling constitutionally protected speech. HB 757 and SB 1780 fly in the face of long standing Supreme Court precedent and risk chilling protected speech that is critical of politicians, public officials, and government actors, contrary to the principles of the First Amendment.”

Blankenship noted that a robust democracy relies on the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open. “Sometimes public debate produces sharp attacks on government and public officials,” she said. “Foreclosing the potential for such debate through these bills should be viewed as an attack on democracy itself.”

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057