Freedom of the Press

Topics: Freedom of the press, North Korea, Alien and Sedition Acts Pages: 3 (911 words) Published: July 11, 2008

Freedom of the Press
Blake Crosslin
Axia College of University of Phoenix

Freedom of the Press
“The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” (Thomas Jefferson) (Rights of the People)

Freedom of speech applies the rights for individuals to publish ideas. Not only that, it also grants the right printing and for broadcast media to cover news and express political views. As society grows more and more complex, people rely more now than ever on newspapers, television and radio to keep up with politics, world and local news. (Rights of the People)

Freedom of the press and speech originated alike. Under English law, either written or spoken, critical views about the government were punishable by law. The government saw criticism as evil, no matter if it was true or not, it caused doubt to be laid on public officers and decrease their reliability and integrity. During the mid 18th century, progress toward a truly free press was halting until the great English commentator; Sir William Blackstone declared that liberty of the press is essential to a free state. (Rights of the People)

In 1798, not long after the adoption of the Constitution, the governing Federalist Party attempted to stifle criticism by means of the Alien and Sedition Acts. (It was notable that the Sedition Act made criticism of Congress, and of the President, a crime, but not criticism of the Vice-President. Jefferson, a non-Federalist, was Vice-President at the time the Act was passed.) These restrictions on freedom of the press proved very unpopular and worked against the Federalists. Thomas Jefferson was among those who opposed the Acts, and he was elected President in the election of 1800. Jefferson then pardoned all...
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