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Freedom of the press in the United States

Posted by: | October 16, 2012 | No Comment |

One of the tenets that has formed America into a unique nation is the creation and the support of a free press. Under the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment protects the right to religious freedoms, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and petition and the freedom of the press.

Though the freedom of the press was revolutionary in its creation, the free press we have today is hardly the same as the original American press. Originally, freedom of press was interpreted simply as the freedom to publish, without regard to partisanship or objectivity. Early American newspapers were riddled with religious sermons and blatant political biases, something that is frowned on in today’s media.

Though freedom of the press is protected under the First Amendment, there are some restrictions. Laws on defamation and copyright prohibit journalists from taking too much control or power in the media. To balance those laws, the government is not allowed to interfere or compel newspapers to print content that the printer disagrees with.

The dedication to a free press has been upheld throughout America’s history. In 1938, the judge in  Lovell v. City of Griffin ruled that the press is “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.” More than 70 years later, with the advent and explosion of the internet, the laws and intricacies of the press are ever evolving. At the time of the ruling, there was no such things as blogs or news websites, which entirely changes the impact of the ruling. 

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