Free Speech Groups Rally Behind Project Veritas In Oregon Secret Recording Case

Project Veritas is receiving support from an unexpected coalition of free speech advocates and animal rights groups as it prepares to return to court to challenge Oregon’s ban on secret recordings. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled in favor of Project Veritas in July 2023 finding the law unconstitutional but vacated its order in March 2024 setting the stage for a rehearing.

Among those filing friend-of-the-court briefs backing Project Veritas are People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Animal Outlook and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). Their joint brief argues that Oregon’s sweeping prohibition on non-consensual audio and video recordings conflicts with basic First Amendment principles by outlawing an important medium of newsgathering and speech creation.

Other supporters include the nonprofit litigation firm Liberty Justice Center and Oregonian lawyer Bert Krages who have also submitted amicus briefs to the court. The diverse array of organizations rallying behind Project Veritas underscores the broad implications of the case for freedom of the press and citizen journalism.

In the original 2020 lawsuit Project Veritas lawyer Ben Barr argued that Oregon’s ban effectively criminalizes journalism by making it illegal to record protests interviews or nearly any other interaction without clear notice to anyone whose voice might be captured.

FIRE attorney Gabe Walters emphasized the importance of recordings for newsgathering on issues of public concern stating “wrongdoers have a funny habit of straightening up when they know they’re being recorded.” Walters said FIRE is proud to fight alongside a broad coalition to protect this important right.