WJTV | January 6, 2021

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi (ACLU) is warning public officials that blocking members of the public from their official social media accounts, is in violation of the First Amendment.

According to the organization, Governor Tate Reeves, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor Hal Marx, Congressman Steven Palazzo and the Jones County Sheriff’s Department are all accused to be in violation. The First Amendment protects speech on social media about public officials and their policies and practices.

The ACLU of Mississippi said it received complaints from individuals whose comments, which expressed viewpoints that were critical of several elected officials, were deleted and their accounts subsequently blocked and banned from the official pages.

“This action is equivalent to closing public meetings to disagreeing constituents,” said staff attorney Landon Thames.

The ACLU of Mississippi said it sent letters to these five public officials/entities on January 6, 2021, to warn them of their violation. If they do not stop the practice of blocking members of the public and deleting unfavorable comments, legal action may take place.