|Minister (National Intelligence) et al. vs. Free Information Society|
|Full case name||Minister (National Intelligence) and Minister (Defense) vs. Free Information Society of Washingtonia, 04-2009 CC|
|Date decided||14 March 2009|
|Judge(s) sitting||CJ Allen Howsham, J , J , J , and J|
|Censorship, freedom of information|
Minister (National Intelligence) et al. vs. Free Information Society (commonly known as the FIS case or the FreeInfo case) was a landmark decision by the Constitutional Court of Washingtonia regarding censorship, especially in relation to Section 2 of Chapter 2 of the Constitution. The publicized Washingtonia Law Reports (WLR) report was heavily redacted with only essential witnesses present at the actual argument of the case. The case was brought by the Minister of National Intelligence chiefly, with the Minister of Defense as the second plaintiff in the Supreme Court as the case was on a matter dealing with national security. The Supreme Court found in favor of the Ministers, and FreeInfo appealed.
The Free Information Society of Washingtonia (FreeInfo), an affiliate of FEDERAL, obtained anonymously several photographs from a vantage point into Army Base Foundersville, which showed soldiers moving what appeared to be weapons of mass destruction from a transport aircraft into a hangar nearby. The images were posted on the FreeInfo Facebook fan page and within three hours was shared over 100 times and liked over 5,000 times. The Civil Investigation and Enforcement Agency (CIEA) applied for an urgent injunction against both Facebook and FreeInfo to have the images removed. Facebook immediately did so without appearing in court, however, FreeInfo kept them on its webpage, citing Section 2 of Chapter 2 of the Constitution as a defense (freedom of speech). The situation went to trial in the Supreme Court.
The Ministers argued that the images was compromising Washingtonian national security and that the publication of the images had already led to serious diplomatic fallout between the United States and Washingtonia. Therefore, the argument went, under the national interest clause of Section 2, the images must be immediately removed. FreeInfo contested this, stating it is rather in the public's interest that such information be made known in a free and open democracy. The Supreme Court called upon the Ministers to tell the court what is depicted in the images, and after initially refusing, the Ministers did so in private with the presiding officers and FreeInfo's legal representative. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Ministers and granted the injunction. FreeInfo appealed to the Constitutional Court with large amounts of funding and support from FEDERAL.
The Constitutional Court, after reviewing Supreme Court transcripts and allowing limited arguments from both sides, dismissed the appeal and called upon the Grand Assembly to enact legislation which clearly defines sensitive information and the access to it. The Grand Assembly subsequently passed the Security of Intelligence Act of 2010 (SIA), the Access to Certain Sensitive Information Act of 2010 (ACSI) and the Prohibition on Certain Speech Act of 2010 (PCS), all of which are controversial in Washingtonian civil society and political activism.