By: Joe Strupp
New London ‘Day’ Claims 1st Amendment Violated
A Connecticut newspaper claiming a First Amendment right to put newspaper-delivery tubes in front of subscribers’ homes is suing New London, where officials ordered the removal of 140 such tubes.
Reid MacCluggage, editor and publisher of The Day, daily circulation 41,689, said the City Council’s March 19 decision to tear down the plastic tubes violates the paper’s right to press freedom.
“It was a hostile act,” MacCluggage said of the April 4 razing of the tubes. His paper retaliated two days later by filing suit in U.S. District Court. “They have no right to do that, because there is no law against this,” MacCluggage insisted.
City officials disagree. They say the tubes, usually placed at the edge of a customer’s property near the street, are on a public right of way.
New London City Manager Richard Brown said his office received at least a dozen complaints after The Day installed the tubes several months ago in the city’s south side as part of a plan to replace youthful carriers with adult delivery staff.
The tubes “were considered unsightly,” Brown told E&P. “There were concerns from constituents.”
MacCluggage said the newspaper advised customers that they could have the tubes removed if they wished. He said some had requested removal and that the paper had complied.
Joe Strupp (email@example.com) is an associate editor for E&P.
Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.