EFF legal brief defends Narco News

Tue Dec 10 11:45:29 PST 2019

July 17, 2001
Please Distribute Widely

Dear Colleagues,

The Narco Newsroom is now in New York City preparing for our hearing at the
New York State Supreme Court on Friday, July 20th, 9:30 a.m. in the Drug War
on Trial case.

Please attend Friday's hearing at the Courthouse at 71 Thomas Street,
Manhattan, New York (three blocks east of Foley Square), court room 205,
Justice Paula Omansky presiding.

We are also very grateful and pleased to announce that the Electronic
Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed an amicus brief in support of our motion
to dismiss the Banamex lawsuit against the free Internet speech of Narco

Enclosed, please find a copy of EFF's press release of today. Please pass it
along to journalists and freedom fighters everywhere, especially in the New
York metropolitan area, and invite them to attend Friday's hearing.

Immediately after Friday's hearing, in front of the Courthouse, we will hold
a press conference.

Shortly, we will be posting the latest round of legal briefs on Narco News.

See you Friday,

>From somewhere else in a country called América,

Al Giordano
Publisher-on-leave, fulltime defendant
The Narco News Bulletin
narconews at hotmail.com


Enc: EFF Press Release

Available online at:


Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release Advisory

Bank Pres Drags Journalist into NY Court Over Drug Expose

Electronic Frontier Foundation Urges U.S. Court to Respect Mexican Rulings

For Immediate Release: July 12, 2001


Cindy Cohn, EFF Legal Dir.,
   cindy at eff.org,
   +1 415 436 9333 x108

Will Doherty, EFF Online Activist / Media Relations,
   wild at eff.org,
   +1 415 436 9333 x111

New York - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today urged a New York
state court to respect Mexican court rulings that have disallowed lawsuits
against independent journalist Al Giordano for publishing allegations of
drug trafficking by Banco Nacional de Mexico President Roberto Hernandez

EFF seeks to protect the First Amendment rights of online, independent
journalists against the abusive "shopping" by large, powerful corporations
for favorable jurisdictions. The Mexican bank brought the case against a
Mexican-based website, produced solely by Giordano, the Narco News Bulletin:


"The EFF is concerned that the bank resorted to New York courts to try to
shut down this website because it could not do so in Mexican courts," said
Cindy Cohn, Legal Director for the EFF. "This kind of forum shopping
threatens to shut down one of the greatest benefits of the Internet --
giving a voice to independent, Internet-based journalists. Faced with having
to defend themselves in far-flung jurisdictions, many independent
journalists will simply choose not to publish on the Internet."

The case arises from allegations published on the the Narco News Bulletin
website that the bank president was involved in illegal activities in
Mexico. The EFF filed an amicus brief urging the New York court to rule that
it was improper for the bank to force Mr. Giordano into New York state court
for the statements posted on the website. The hearing on the case is set for
July 20, 2001.

Since April 18, 2000, Al Giordano has produced the Narco News Bulletin, an
online newspaper devoted to spirited investigative journalism on the
US-Latin America drug trade. Articles posted on the Narco News Bulletin
website have discussed allegations by others that Roberto Hernandez Ramirez,
the president of the Banco Nacional de Mexico, is involved in drug
trafficking. Some of these stories were reprinted articles from the Mexican
newspaper Por Esto!, published in Mexico by Mario Renato Menendez.

After failing three times to successfully sue Menendez in Mexico over the
allegations, Banco Nacional de Mexico now seeks to force Menendez and
Giordano to defend themselves in New York state court against the same basic
claims. The New York case groups together the allegations against the
Mexican-based website, hosted in Maryland, with statements made by Menendez
and Giordano in New York City on a radio broadcast and at a Columbia
University Law School conference.

The EFF amicus brief asked the Court to adopt one of two courses of action.
First, in order to deter abusive forum shopping, the EFF asked the court to
dismiss the case since Mexican law governs the dispute.
Alternatively, since Narconews.com mainly republished investigative work
done by others, the EFF asked the New York court to apply a distinct legal
standard for libel claims related to republished statements. The legal
standard requires that a republisher had, or should have had substantial
reasons to question the accuracy of the articles. EFF believes that this
higher liability standard for republishing on the Internet is necessary to
encourage the growth of Internet journalism.

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties
organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in
1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to
support free expression, privacy, and openness in the information society.
EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most
linked-to Web sites in the world:


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