Name: Kennedy Rape Media Ban

Date:  1985 - 1995

Location:  North America

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion

MediumTelevision , Print Journalism , Radio

Artist: Artist/Author/Producer A Boca Raton tabloid

Confronting Bodies: Confronting Bodies Florida State Government

Date of Action: Dates of action 1991

Specific Location: Location Boca Raton, Florida

Description of Artwork: The Boca Raton tabloid published the name of Patricia Bowman shortly after she accused William Kennedy Smith of rape in 1991.

Description of Incident: A Florida State Appeals court ruled the tabloid could not be persecuted for publishing the rape victim's name. The court ruled that a 1911 law making it a crime to publish or broadcast the names of rape victims violates the First Amendment. The Fourth District Court of Appeals in West Palm Beach conceded that the concerns about victims safety from retaliation and the need to encourage the reporting of sex offenses were legitimate, but did not justify censorship.

Results of Incident: The ruling was based largely on a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving the Florida Star, a Jacksonville newspaper that was sued for libel after it inadvertently published a rape victim's name. The Supreme Court threw out a $100,000 judgment agai

Source: Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association

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