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Homework : Read/OL 13.4 for Monday PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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FrontPage : Take a copy of the article and read it. Why did the Court decide this case in the way it did?. Homework : Read/OL 13.4 for Monday . FrontPage : OL on your desk. In what situations might the government need to restrain the freedom of the press?. Homework : Study for test tomorrow.

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Homework : Read/OL 13.4 for Monday

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FrontPage:Take a copy of the article and read it. Why did the Court decide this case in the way it did?

Homework: Read/OL 13.4 for Monday

FrontPage:OL on your desk. In what situations might the government need to restrain the freedom of the press?

Homework: Study for test tomorrow

Freedom of the Press

The Right To Know vs. The Right to “No”

In the 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;

    **What is “the press”?

  • - All forms of publication that are a means of conveying information and opinions.

  • What other word might we use today to describe “the press”?


What does “freedom of the press” really mean?

  • Just as there are many forms of “the press”, there are many different ideas about what this phrase could mean…

    Could it mean…

    • A publisher cannot refuse to print your ideas if you submit them?

    • Journalists do not have to identify their sources of information?

    • The government must provide the appropriate tools so that anyone can publish their ideas if they cannot afford to?

    • The press can be forced to provide equal time (or space) to all sides in a debate?

    • You can publish the work of another person without their permission?

    • The government cannot prevent the publication of any information?

Worldwide Press Freedom

  • According to, the US is 11th in terms of press freedom

    • Some notable rankings:

**How does “the press” function today?

  • Provides information to the public

  • Provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and debate

Again, the question we must ask is,

“How much freedom

can the press exercise?

1st Amendment protection for different types of media…

  • Highest: Print media

    • Includes the internet

  • Movies

  • Radio and TV

    • Cable TV perhaps a bit more…

  • Obscenity in general

    • Based on “community standards”

Significant Supreme Court cases

  • Near vs. Minnesota

    • Held that prior restraint is unconstitutional; incorporated this part of the First Amendment

  • New York Times vs. Sullivan

    • Established the actual malice standard which has to be met before press reports can be considered to be defamation and libel

    • The actual malice standard requires that the plaintiff prove that the publisher of the statement knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity.

    • Because of the extremely high burden of proof on the plaintiff, and the difficulty in proving essentially what is inside a person's head, such cases—when they involve public figures—rarely prevail.

  • New York Times vs. US

    • Pentagon Papers case: US could not prevent publication of confidential military documents

How can the government infringe on the freedom of the Press?

Prior restraint – governmentcensorship of material before it can be published; or government/courts preventing the reporting of information

  • - Allowed only in certain circumstances

    • Will cause serious/irreparable harm

    • No other course/action would prevent the harm

Shaping the Freedom of the Press: The Supreme Court

  • The Court must balance 2 needs when considering how much freedom the press can exercise…

    The public’s “Right to know”


    Gov’t(or an individual’s) need for secrecy/privacy

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