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    U.S Mass Media... 1st part

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    Rahma Sboui Gueddah

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    U.S Mass Media... 1st part

    Post by Rahma Sboui Gueddah on Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:55 pm

    Freedom of speech in the United States
    John Hancock was the first person to write newspapers in the British colonies in North America were published "by authority," that is, under license from and as the mouthpiece of the colonial governors. The first regularly published newspaper was the Boston News-Letter of John Campbell, published weekly beginning in 1704. The early colonial publishers were either postmasters or government printers, and therefore unlikely to challenge government policies.
    The first independent newspaper in the colonies was the New-England Courant, published in Boston by James Franklin beginning in 1721. A few years later, Franklin's younger brother, Benjamin, purchased the Pennsylvania Gazette of Philadelphia, which became the leading newspaper of the colonial era.
    During this period, newspapers were unlicensed, and able freely to publish dissenting views, but were subject to prosecution for libel or even sedition if their opinions threatened the government. The notion of "freedom of the press" that later was enshrined in the United States Constitution is generally traced to the seditious libel prosecution of John Peter Zenger by the colonial governor of New York in 1735. In this instance of jury nullification, Zenger was acquitted after his lawyer, Andrew Hamilton, argued to the jury (contrary to established English law) that there was no libel in publishing the truth. Yet even after this celebrated case, colonial governors and assemblies asserted the power to prosecute and even imprison printers for publishing unapproved views.


    A U.S. Postage Stamp commemorating freedom of the press.
    During the American Revolution, a free press was identified by Revolutionary leaders as one of the elements of liberty that they sought to preserve. The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) proclaimed that "the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotic governments." Similarly, the Constitution of Massachusetts (1780) declared, "The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth." Following these examples, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution restricted Congress from abridging the freedom of the press and the closely associated freedom of speech.
    John Locke’s ideas had inspired both the French and American revolutions. Thomas Jefferson wanted to unite the two streams of liberalism, the English and the French schools of thought. His goal was to create a government that would provide both security and opportunity for the individual. An active press was essential as a way of educating the population. In order to be able to work freely, the press must be free from control by the state. Jefferson was a person who himself suffered great calumnies of the press. Despite this, in his second inaugural address, he proclaimed that a government that could not stand up under criticism deserved to fall.
    Jefferson said: "No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all avenues of the truth".
    In 1931, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Near v. Minnesota used the 14th Amendment to apply the freedom of the press to the States. Other notable cases regarding free press are:
    • New York Times Co. v. United States: The Supreme Court upheld the publication of the Pentagon Papers.
    • New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: The Court decided that in order for written words to be libel, it must be, first of all, false. It must also be published with the deliberate intent to ruin someone's reputation.
    In Branzburg v. Hayes (1972), the Court placed limits on the ability of the Press to refuse a subpoena from a Grand Jury by claiming Freedom of the Press. The issue decided in the case was whether a reporter could refuse to "appear and testify before state and Federal grand juries" by claiming such appearance and testimony "abridges the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment." The 5-4 decision was that such a protection was not provided by the First Amendment.
    lol! Have a nice da afro

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