Following Carolina Journal’s lead, the Charlotte Observer is recounting the ordeal of a nutrition blogger targeted for shutdown by the N.C. Board of Dietetics/Nutrition.

This week, the 50-year-old Stanley man filed suit in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, claiming the state board has violated his First Amendment rights to free speech by putting limits on what he can say.

“Making Mr. Cooksey get a dietitian’s license to give advice is like making Dear Abby get a psychologist’s license,” said Jeff Rowes, a lawyer for the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm that is representing Cooksey.

“You don’t need the government’s permission to give someone ordinary advice.”

Charla Burill, executive director of the state dietetics board, declined comment Wednesday. But a “Setting the Record Straight” page on the board’s website says it never ordered Cooksey to change his blog and never threatened him with legal action.