Larry Flynt | Free Speech Activist

"If you're not going to offend somebody, you don't need the First Amendment."

- Larry Flynt

Larry Flynt

From Columbia Journalism Review

Larry Flynt’s New Court Battle Matters To The Media

Last week, the Columbia Journalism Review, of all places, spoke well of Larry Flynt’s recent court battle in Missouri regarding death penalty secrecy and public records.

CJR’s piece, “Why Larry Flynt’s latest court victory is good for the media,” linked Flynt’s battle to free speech and, of course, freedom of the press.

From Jonathan Peters at CJR:

The legal fight over death-penalty secrecy in Missouri has a surprising new player: Larry Flynt, the quirky and bellicose publisher of Hustler magazine. And he’s received help from what some might see as a surprising source: the traditional news media.

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled that Flynt is allowed to join two lawsuits filed by death-row inmates—including the man who shot and paralyzed Flynt in the 1970s—challenging the constitutionality and effectiveness of Missouri’s execution protocols. Some records of those proceedings are under seal, and Flynt asked to intervene, as the appeals court said, for the “limited purpose of seeking to unseal court records and docket entries.”

You can read the rest of the piece here.

Flynt, in Missouri, is continuing the work that journalists all over the country should be doing – advocating for transparent government and unencumbered access to public records, not only by media officials but by all citizens.

It should be duly noted, too, that Flynt’s advocacy centered around the execution of the man who nearly assassinated him forty years ago. That Flynt prizes free speech over personal justice should underscore for all just how important open, public records and transparency are in a democratic society.

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