Jour 413 Freedom of Speech, Bill of Rights & Libel
Jour 413 Freedom of Speech, Bill of Rights & Libel 413
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebel_Athlete on Saturday September 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 413 at University of Nevada - Las Vegas taught by Gregory Borchard in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see History of Journalism in JOUR at University of Nevada - Las Vegas.
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Date Created: 09/10/16
Monday, September 26, y Jour 413 Notes Continuation of Last Week ’s Lecture SUMMARY This lecture was about the idea of freedom of speech. John Milton, an English scholar and poet, wrote that everyone was born with the right to knowledge and the ability to believe in what they want to believe in. This transitions over to the First Amendment which bases its principles off of this concept. The Bill of Rights contains 10 amendments that were created in 1791 with the citizens freedoms in mind. Because the precedent of the freedom of speech was established, it wasn’t long until the precedent of the freedom of the press was created. Through key court cases like Schenck v. Minnesota and Near v. Minnesota the court was able to establish the freedom of the press. The precedent of libel was also created by the Zenger Trial in 1735, stating that a phrase could not be deemed libelous until it is factually proven that it is. John Milton “Areopagitica” 1644 John Milton is an English scholar and poet who wrote this prose piece specifically to show opposition towards licensing and censorship. Everyone is born with the right to knowledge and the ability to believe. He believed the most important liberty to have was to be able to argue freely about ones’ beliefs. The First Amendment The First amendment protects freedoms of religion, speech and the press. It allows citizens to peaceably assemble and to petition to the government for a redress of grievances. Here is an exact excerpt from 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 or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, an to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Things that are considered free speech: Burning the American Flag Burning the American Flag is legal, it is just not ‘right’. 1 Monday, September 26, y The Bill of Rights The bill of rights is the first 10 amendments created in 1791. These 10 amendments are consisted primarily of civil rights that outline what the government can not do. After the ratification of the Bill of rights there really wasn't much going on about the first amendment. During the 19th century there were not so many references to what the First Amendment meant. The press during this time period grew commercially experiencing wide scale production, democratization and sensationalism. This was the time when Media finally became referred to as “Mass Media”. The Freedom of the Press Schenck v. United States (1919) Schenck expresses opposition towards the war. He does this by calling opposition towards the draft which under the espionage act was not legal. Any talk going against a national action was considered a threat to national security. In the case Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes suggested that the press can’t pose a “clear and present danger” in times of war. The idea is that no matter wha you do you can’t threaten the security of your own country. Because of this Schenck and Abrams were prosecuted. Near V. Minnesota, 1931 The publisher of the Saturday Press was Jay Near, who was actually a mobster in Minneapolis. Imagine Las Vegas in the 1950’s and that is exactly what this place is like. Before this case Minnesota targeted publishers who would allow malicious or scandalous content to be published. The court made the famous precedent of the freedom of the press with this court decision. What happened was that the Supreme Court made a landmark decision stating that whether or not you like what somebody says you can’t stop them from saying it. If there is a serious dislike towards what they have to say then the correct way to go about it would be to sue. The saying goes that more speech is good speech. The key word to remember for this concept is that there is no prior restraint. Zenger Trial 1735 John Peter Zenger, from the New York Journal was tried for sedition and libel. Zenger went to jail under a warrant signed by the Governor. He was charged for printing and publishing several libels. 2 Monday, September 26, y Andrew Hamilton takes the case. He is a famous Philadelphia lawyer. His argument for Zenger was: noone is guilty unless it can actually be proven. Zinger won the case, setting up a precedent for libel and the First Amendment. The thing to remember with libel is that libel can be any phrase or sentence that causes another person harm to themselves personally or to their reputation. The key word is that it defames a person’s character. It is very hard to win a libel case because it is hard to prove that something is libelous. If something is said instead of written, it will be difficult or almost impossible to file for libel. 3
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