The Importance of the First Amendment

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a governement, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

Thomas Jefferson's words still resonate today, more than 200 years later. Newspapers and media are vital for our society and they are protected by many laws.

The most important one, also a creation of Jefferson, is the first amendment of the Constitution.

It is the third article of the Bill of Rights which proclaims the five freedoms of the citizens of the United States of America.

"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, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

In Democratic countries, those rights have to be respected and they are protected by the Constitution or the major law of the state.

Journalists take a great advantage out of this amendment. Freedom of press is, for Jefferson, the beginning of liberty.

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

The media play such a role in the political life revolutions and contemporary state blows always begin by making media headquarters. Sometimes referred as fourth power, the press is often only extension of powers already in place.


T Israel April 13, 2011 at 12:05 PM  

I think it's so easy to believe in the first amendment when it comes to ourselves and so easy to forget about about it when it comes to something we disagree with, like the members of the Westboro Baptist Church. The First Amendment really is vital to the way our country runs and that's why it's still valid and true today.

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