NEW YORK—In letters sent to the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University earlier this week, the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy agreed to unban the Knight Institute’s client, Jordan Uhl, from their Twitch channels. The Navy also said that it has unbanned all other users. And in press statements, the Army announced that it would do the same. The announcements came after the Knight Institute sent a letter last month asking that the Army and Navy unban Mr. Uhl, as well as all others who have been banned from the esports channels for discussing war crimes or engaging in other core political speech. The Institute also asked the Army and Navy to adopt and publish written policies to ensure that critics are not unconstitutionally banned from those forums in the future. Yesterday, the Navy posted new policies governing its Twitch channel. The Army has not yet resumed streaming on its Twitch channel but has announced that it plans to revise its moderation policies.
The following can be attributed to Meenakshi Krishnan, Legal Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
“We’re pleased that both the Army and Navy have agreed to unban users who were banned for engaging in core political speech. It’s also good to see that the Navy is committing not to ban users on the basis of viewpoint. Of course, it matters how these new policies are applied. We will monitor the Navy’s practices closely to ensure that the new policies are enforced consistently and in a viewpoint-neutral manner. We look forward to reviewing the Army’s policies once they are posted.”
Read a copy of the Department of Army letter here.
Read a copy of the Department of Navy letter here.
Read a copy of the Knight Institute’s demand letter here.
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