Tuesday, March 21, 2017

First Amendment Rights, Part 2: Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press  is worded like this in the Constitution, September 25, 1789:

This is the entire First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If we're only talking about the freedom of the press, here is some food for thought:

"The last right we shall mention regards the freedom of the press. The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated into more honorable and just modes of conducting affairs."

Read the entire excellent essay here:  

The words 'Diffusion' and 'ready communication of thoughts' is still a valid way to say it. Today, this sharing is magnified greatly by the use of the phone, internet, television, and social media. These things also make it almost impossible to monitor every thing that's shared, from artwork and music to readable information. While the First Amendment intends to allow expression without censorship, there are those who seek to suppress these freedoms, to compel others to agree with their concept of 'appropriate'.

Definition of Censorship: the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security

The question is, who has decided they are unacceptable? The First Amendment is put in place to uphold your freedom but also to limit it, so that certain communication is blocked. What do you think of any kind of censorship? Is there danger in not having censorship? Is there danger in having it?



Freedom of the press, the right to "Gather, publish, and distribute ideas without government restriction." means:
  • Published written work: Books, magazines, flyers, posters, signs, advertising
  • Music such as CDs
  • Art
  • Research (medicine, science)
  • Again, this freedom includes the right to not have your work censored.
  • Censoring, definition: the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security
Journalists can refuse to disclose their sources. This confidentiality can protect the informant from being harassed (or worse)

Here is a judge's decision to a challenge to the disclosure rule:

Justice Stewart's dissent in Branzburg urged the Court to find that a qualified journalistic privilege exists unless the government is able to show three things: (1) Probable Cause to believe that the journalist possesses information that is clearly relevant; (2) an inability to obtain the material by less intrusive means; and (3) a compelling interest that overrides First Amendment interests.


This post is about Freedom of the Press in the United States. Check out this map giving areas of the world and where they also have it, and where they do not:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.