Media Coalition Counsel Michael Bamberger Wins Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award

by Betsy Gomez

Michael Bamberger, First Amendment attorney and counsel for the plaintiffs protesting Utah’s H.B. 260, which would have curtailed constitutionally-protected speech online, is the recipient of 2012 Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award. The award “was established in 1987 to recognize and honor those individuals who have contributed substantially to the FTRF through adherence to its principles and/or substantial monetary support.”

Bamberger is general counsel for the Media Coalition, which “is an association that defends the First Amendment right to produce and sell books, movies, magazines, recordings, DVDs, videotapes, and video games, and defends the American public’s First Amendment right to have access to the broadest possible range of opinion and entertainment.”

As a member of the Media Coalition, CBLDF was one of the plaintiffs in the case against H.B. 260. The plaintiffs argued that the law was overly broad and could restrict legitimate adult-to-adult communication online. Bamberger led the plaintiffs to an important victory in the case, working out an agreement with Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff that would ensure that the only people prosecuted under the law were those who intentionally sent “harmful to minors” material to someone who is known to be a minor or believed to be a minor.

“Mike Bamberger is one of the First Amendment’s most ardent champions,” says CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein. “His decades of accomplished litigation have protected the First Amendment rights of generations of Americans. His work on behalf of CBLDF has protected readers, retailers and artists from harmful laws that would have curtailed their rights. This is a well deserved honor, and one that all of us at the Fund are thrilled to congratulate him on.”

You can read more about Bamberger’s accomplishments as a defender of the First Amendment in the official press release about the FTFR Roll of Honor Award on the ALA’s website.

Betsy Gomez is the Web Editor for CBLDF.