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SR: Judge Mulls Commenters Suit

Here's the SR version of today's court hearing: Forcing The Spokesman-Review to reveal the identities of three anonymous commenters on its Huckleberries Online blog would quell free speech by raising fears that people posting critical remarks would be outed and sued, the newspaper’s attorney argued Friday in court. “It’s an issue of huge concern to The Spokesman-Review. If people are going to be outed on that site…it will lose its effectiveness” as a news forum about matters of importance in North Idaho, said the news company’s attorney, Duane Swinton, of Witherspoon Kelley.  The Spokesman-Review asked an Idaho district court judge to quash a subpoena filed by Kootenai County Republican chairwoman Tina Jacobson, seeking the identities of three Huckleberries Online readers who commented anonymously about her. Jacobson’s attorney, C. Matthew Andersen, of Winston & Cashatt, argued that Jacobson’s reputation was harmed by the remarks, and he needed the commenters’ identities to pursue a defamation lawsuit. District Court Judge John Luster made no decision Friday, saying he required time to consider the matter/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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