A lawsuit over media companies’ alleged censorship regarding COVID-19 was filed in Amarillo federal court last week.

According to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, a partnership was created between Big Tech companies and The Washington Post, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Reuters, and Associated Press to exclude rival publishers from “dominant internet platforms.” In December 2020, the partnership specifically agreed to focus on combatting “misinformation” regarding COVID vaccines. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are alleging that the media companies suppressed alternative viewpoints on stories involving COVID vaccines, the origin of COVID, and the Hunter Biden laptop story.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that the coordinated effort by the partnership and Big Tech companies is “a classic unlawful ‘group boycott’ to damage the ability of smaller publishers to compete or even survive.”

The lawsuit was filed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Children’s Health Defense, Dr. Ben Tapper, and several independent media organizations against the four legacy media companies named as part of the partnership.

Ryan Brown, an Amarillo attorney who is serving as local counsel on the case, told Texas Scorecard that this lawsuit should matter to any American concerned about access to information and free speech.

“Censorship, whether it comes from the government or giant national or international corporations, is the same, as far as the effect,” Brown said. “And while the First Amendment only pertains to protect the people from government, there’s other laws in place, such as the Sherman Act and antitrust laws, that would protect people from corporations combining to decide what the truth is and restrict freedom of the press by strangling out competition. So, just because whether you agree with what these plaintiffs have published or not, it concerns everyone.”

Brown went on to say that this case could set an important precedent for protecting free speech for smaller, independent media companies competing with establishment media, because “whatever is censored today, and that’s okay because you like it, something you like could be censored next week.”

The lawsuit will now land in the courtroom of Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, who has become known as one of the most ideologically conservative district judges in Texas. Kacsmaryk most recently made headlines last year after issuing a ruling blocking the Biden administration from ending the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.

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