The Associated Press – Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has ordered the state’s largest city to block local and national news outlets from using their names or images to promote their stories.
Scott’s order, announced Friday, requires the state Office of the Governor to develop a policy to prevent local news organizations from using the names of news organizations without a license.
Scott has said he intends to ask the Florida Supreme Court to issue a stay.
News organizations that use their names and images without a valid license would be subject to a fine of up to $500,000, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Scott signed the order late Thursday, and it will take effect Feb. 17.
He said it is necessary to “protect the integrity of our news media and ensure that we are not creating false information about the safety of our citizens.”
Florida’s news organizations say the order violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of the press.
A spokeswoman for the Associated Press said it would appeal the order.
Scott did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP.
Scott has faced growing criticism over his handling of Hurricane Irma and a lawsuit filed by a Florida woman who claims her home was destroyed by Irma.
The lawsuit claims the governor’s decision to declare a state of emergency over the storm is illegal.