NEW YORK — Earlier this week, the U.S. Army announced it would reinstate banned users from its esports Twitch channel, @USArmyEsports, and revise its streaming policies and procedures. The announcement came after the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sent a letter to the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy Recruiting Commands demanding that they cease banning individuals on the basis of viewpoint from their esports Twitch channels. The Knight Institute sent the letter on behalf of Jordan Uhl, a Twitch user who was banned after he asked questions about U.S. war crimes in chats associated with those channels.
The following can be attributed to Meenakshi Krishnan, Legal Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
“We’re pleased that the Army intends to unban the users who were banned for engaging in core political speech, and we look forward to reviewing the Army’s new moderation policies. We will closely monitor how those policies are applied in practice. We’re troubled that the Navy has not reconsidered its own policies and practices. As we explained in our letter, the Navy's esports Twitch channel is a public forum for First Amendment purposes and Navy recruiters act unconstitutionally when they ban speakers, or suppress speech, in that forum on the basis of viewpoint.”
Read a copy of the Knight Institute’s demand letter here.
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