Gov. erred in signing this version of revenge porn legislation

On June 4, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo signed into law an act passed by the General Assembly related to “revenge porn,” reversing a decision she made two years ago to veto a similar piece of legislation.

A number of groups, including the Rhode Island Press Association, the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island and the New England First Amendment Coalition, agreed that this legislation likely will be challenged in court and overturned, leaving those who are the victims of revenge pornography without any legal protections.

The legislature and now the governor have erred in removing language that included “intent to harm” to the standards of what constitutes revenge porn, an action that could create a chilling effect on the actions of a free press. Earlier this year both the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Day One testified that they supported including an intent element in the law.

There is still time in this legislative session to rectify this mistake. The governor and the General Assembly should do so.

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