Cincinnati Engineer Sued for Tweet: Do You Fact Check your Tweets?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

A fire engine in Oxford, Ohio. (Billy V/flickr)

It was a case of crime and punishment in the digital age when Cincinnati-based mechanical engineer Mark Miller took to Twitter with a series of politically heated missives about a local municipal project. Upset that the city of Cincinnati, Ohio would be spending money on a new streetcar, Miller sent tweet after tweet about how those efforts were browning out large percentages of fire departments in the city limits. Miller's tweets didn't just incite local debate, they got Miller slapped with a lawsuit, because under an Ohio law, it's illegal to make false statements in political campaigns. There are 17 states with similar laws -- but do those laws still reflect the reality we are living in?

Miller was just one man, expressing his concerns to his several hundred twitter followers, not a campaign. To discuss the brave new world of first amendment laws we speak with Mark Miller himself along with Larissa Lydski, professor of Law at University of Florida.


Larissa Lydski and Mark Miller

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [1]

David from Detroit

No they should not be protected speech. This has a significant implication. Politicians should be allowed to civil recourse when they are victims of either slander or libel. I do not think such is that case currently

Second in that some states, such as Ohio, apparently have not written their "honesty" statutes properly they probably need to modify them. The intent of the modification being to make dirty political tricks, such as the one used against Mark Miller, a risky venture. An affirmation that perjury is not being committed will probably sufficient. Due recall perjury is usually considered a felony, and felons generally are not permitted to hold public office.

Mar. 08 2012 06:21 PM

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