The Florida prison system’s Literature Review Committee recently overturned the ban on four out of 13 issues of the Militant newspaper, which have been censored by Florida prison officials over the last few months.
“This is a victory for defending the Bill of Rights,” said John Studer, editor of the Militant. “We will continue our campaign to defend the right of our subscribers behind bars to read material of their choosing, and our right to send them the Militant until every ban on the paper is lifted.” The Militant is a socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people since 1928.
The impoundment of three of the banned issues had been upheld previously by the Literature Review Committee. In the face of growing public opposition to these violations of the constitutional rights of prisoners and the Militant, the committee reversed its decisions and rescinded the bans on Issues 24, 25, 26, and 27. The bans remain in place on issues 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30. The Militant is appealing all the bans.
Among those who have called on Florida prison officials to reverse their censorship of the Militant are the Florida Press Association, Amnesty International USA; the National Lawyers Guild; the American Civil Liberties Union – Florida; the National Coalition Against Censorship; WeCount! in Miami-Dade County; PEN America; The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom; the Freedom to Read Foundation; and American Booksellers for Free Expression.
Florida prison officials banned two issues of the paper that reported on a speaking tour of Albert Woodfox, who spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement in the Louisiana penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. The story of his imprisonment and release has been covered in dozens of news outlets across the country. Other issues of the Militant were banned for reporting on the fight against censorship!