First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
News Story
print this   Print

Nashville publishers object to proposed news-rack limits

By The Associated Press,
First Amendment Center Online staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A group of Nashville publishers wants a third party, rather than the city, to regulate newspaper racks on downtown streets.

Publishers of The Tennessean, The City Paper, the Nashville Scene and several other publications proposed the plan after complaints about the racks obstructing pedestrian traffic.

Metro Councilman Mike Jameson has co-sponsored legislation that would let Nashville charge publishers $50 per rack for initial permits and $10 per year after that.

Several publishers agreed to an alternate plan that would pay the Nashville Downtown Partnership $10 per rack a year. The nonprofit organization would monitor the racks for safety and proper maintenance, said Ellen Leifeld, president and publisher of The Tennessean.

“The authority would be under a third party that’s nongovernmental, which is the key issue for us,” she said. “We don’t think a new bureaucracy should be set up in Metro government to regulate the press.”

Leifeld and other publishers have said government fees would violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits governments from regulating or restricting the press.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill Purcell told The City Paper that the mayor also believes the measure would violate the First Amendment.

Jameson has said Metro Council attorneys said the legislation was constitutional.

Jameson said the publishers’ plan is limited to downtown, but the problem exists in other areas in the county such as near Vanderbilt University and parts of Madison.

Nashville mayor vetoes plan to charge for newspaper racks
Bill Purcell says proposal could be considered 'an abridgment of a free press and (it) raises significant First Amendment issues.' 05.17.07


Split decision issued in feud over airport news racks

Federal court orders three newspapers to pay Atlanta nearly $350,000 in back rent, interest, but also orders city to pay newspapers $1.35 million in attorney’s fees, expenses. 12.08.04

News racks

News summary page
View the latest news stories throughout the First Amendment Center Online.

Last system update: Friday, April 23, 2010 | 16:02:09
About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
How to contribute
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment

Religious liberty in public schools
First Reports
Supreme Court
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Freedom Sings™
First Amendment

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment

Lesson plans
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links