WASHINGTON—TikTok filed a legal challenge today to the recently passed federal law that could ban the social media app in the United States. 

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

“Restricting citizens’ access to media from abroad is a practice that has long been associated with repressive regimes, so it’s sad and alarming to see our own government going down this road. TikTok’s challenge to the ban is important, and we expect it to succeed. The First Amendment means the government can’t restrict Americans’ access to ideas, information, or media from abroad without a very good reason for it—and no such reason exists here. The fact that some legislators have acknowledged that the ban was motivated by a desire to suppress content about the Israel-Gaza conflict will make the law especially difficult for the government to defend.”

Yesterday, the Knight Institute filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in a challenge to Montana’s TikTok ban. The brief argues that the First Amendment protects Americans’ right to access information, ideas, and media from abroad. It also argues that courts should view efforts to restrict that right with “wariness and distrust”—both because these kinds of restrictions have historically been associated with rights-abusing governments, and because the United States’ past experiments with such restrictions are now recalled with “embarrassment and shame.” Read the brief here.

For more information, contact: Adriana Lamirande, [email protected]