Tuesday 4 October 2022

Newsom Signs Bills Restricting Use Of Rap Lyrics In Court While Censoring Doctors On COVID

 Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom signed several bills last week with conflicting messages on freedom of speech and censorship.

On Friday, Newsom signed a  measure into law that restricts the use of creative expression in court when it comes to criminal proceedings. The court must now take other items into consideration when someone wants to use “a form of creative expression” as evidence.

“Artists of all kinds should be able to create without the fear of unfair and prejudicial prosecution,” Newsom said in a statement Friday. “California’s culture and entertainment industry set trends around the world and it’s fitting that our state is taking a nation-leading role to protect creative expression and ensure that artists are not criminalized under biased policies.”

In the law, creative expression doesn’t only apply to rap lyrics, although that is the application that has garnered the most interest. It is specified as “the expression or application of creativity or imagination in the production or arrangement of forms, sounds, words, movements, or symbols, including, but not limited to, music, dance, performance art, visual art, poetry, literature, film, and other such objects or media.”

Members of the music industry have said such measures are necessary, especially since rapper Young Thug has been indicted in Georgia, with some of his lyrics used in the indictment.

“Today we celebrate an important victory for music creators in the state of California. Silencing any genre or form of artistic expression is a violation against all music people. The history that’s been made in California today will help pave the way forward in the fight to protect creative freedom nationwide,” CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., reportedly noted in a statement on Friday.

On the other side of the topic of expression, Newsom signed a separate bill into law on Friday that would limit the speech of physicians regarding COVID.

The law states that it will be “unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to disseminate misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, including false or misleading information regarding the nature and risks of the virus, its prevention and treatment; and the development, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.”

“Disinformation” is defined as “misinformation that the licensee deliberately disseminated with malicious intent or an intent to mislead.”

However, “[m]isinformation” is clarified to mean “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.”

Doctors who carry out misconduct could be at risk to lose their license to practice medicine in California, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

At the signing of the measure, Newsom reportedly said, “To be clear, this bill does not apply to any speech outside of discussions related to COVID-19 treatment within a direct physician-patient relationship.”

Newsom’s allegiance to the free expression of rappers and artists does not appear to extend to physicians in the state.

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