Montana County Library Steps Up for ACLU Freedom Files After State Library Folds Under Pressure

Affiliate: ACLU of Montana
February 23, 2006 12:00 am

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ACLU Applauds Library for “Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom”

HELENA, MT — The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana announced today that the Lewis and Clark Library will be the site for the screening and discussion of “Beyond the Patriot Act,” which is part of The ACLU Freedom Files, a documentary series airing nationwide on Court TV. The announcement comes after a decision yesterday by the Montana State Library to cancel the program.

“Libraries have been at the center of the Patriot Act debate over unwarranted searches of their records and computers by the federal government,” said Scott Crichton, ACLU of Montana Executive Director. “We applaud the Lewis and Clark Library for recognizing the need for an open dialogue on the most critical civil liberties issues of the day. The Patriot Act has fueled a climate of fear that unfortunately appears to have clouded the vision of those at the state library who originally organized the screening.”

“Librarians understand that every book tells a story,” Crichton continued. “They defend and discuss books that some would ban. Likewise, every film also tells a story. ‘Beyond the Patriot Act’ shows how this sweeping and misguided law affects ordinary Americans. The federal government has had four years to make its case. Now it’s time for the people to hear the other side of the debate.”

Crichton added that the state library’s decision to cancel the screening is yet another example of the government’s attempts to silence dissent.

“The America the ACLU defends does not stifle debate, engage in searches without judicial review, hold prisoners without due process, or participate in torture. The America that the ACLU works to preserve values all three branches of government and the checks and balances they provide in keeping our democracy democratic,” Crichton said.

The public is welcome to attend the screening and discussion at 4:00 p.m., Friday, February 24, at the Lewis and Clark Public Library, 120 S. Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT.

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