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
FIRST AMENDMENT FORBIDS CONGRESS FROM INTERFERING WITH A CITIZEN’S FREEDOM OF RELIGION, SPEECH, PRESS, ASSEMBLY, OR PETITION DOES NOT PROTECT WORDS OF RACIAL HATRED, FIGHTING WORDS, LIBEL, INVASION OF PRIVACY, OR OBSCENITY
Concerns for the Journalist Journalists must be careful as they gather and report the news The First Amendment does not give carte blanche to the journalist Careful reporting will held you avoid legal repercussions
DEFAMATION Damage to someone’s: Character Reputation Profession Business Integrity
LIBEL – WRITTEN DEFAMATION WORDS, PICTURES, OR CARTOONS that are FALSE and expose the subject to: Public Hatred Shame Disgrace Ridicule
LIBEL – AN EXAMPLE A yearbook class does a spread on “easy” or “blow off” courses. Avoid statements such as, “Mrs. Jones’ basketweaving elective is so easy and she gives all A’s anyway” If the last part of the statement is not verified, it could reflect on Mrs. Jones’ professional abilities On the other hand, “I like basketweaving because it is so easy” is an obviously an opinion.
LIBEL Note: You cannot libel the dead, but most states allow lawsuits to continue if the victim dies during trial. Some states allow groups to sue for libel, some do not
LIBEL – A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE JOHN PETER ZENGER, a colonial publisher, was arrested for printing stories critical of Governor Crosby. During colonial times, criticizing the British Crown was considered SEDITIOUS LIBEL SEDITION – to stir rebellion
LIBEL – A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Zenger was defended by Andrew Hamilton, one of the greatest legal minds of the time. Hamilton admitted Zenger’s guilt but pleaded to the jury that they acquit him because he printed the TRUTH Zenger was acquitted and TRUTH was established as a defense for libel TRUTH is the ABSOLUTE DEFENSE for libel
PRECEDENT PRIOR CASES with SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES that help the court decide the current case PRECEDENTS become the LAW Zenger’s case set a precedent in establishing TRUTH as a defense
SLANDER – SPOKEN DEFAMATION SPOKEN WORDS that damage the subject’s character.
CENSORSHIP REMOVAL or PROHIBITION of material by an authority, usually a government. High school newspapers often face censorship by principals, school board and other administration.
PRIOR REVIEW The review of a proof of a newspaper by an official before it goes to press Many high school newspapers must be reviewed by the principal before publication Stone Bridge DOES NOT have prior review BUT Mr. Person expects open communication about potentially controversial material.
ETHICS A SYSTEM OF MORAL PRINCIPALS Review Journalist’s Code of Ethics
CASES AFFECTING SCHOLASTIC JOURNALISM TINKER VS. DES MOINES BETHEL SCHOOL DISTRICT VS. FRASER HAZELWOOD VS. KUHLMEIER Morse vs. Frederick
Tinker vs. Des Moines The 1969 landmark case of Tinker v. Des Moines affirmed the First Amendment rights of students in school. The Court held that a school district violated students’ free speech rights when it singled out a form of symbolic speech – black armbands worn in protest of the Vietnam War – for prohibition, without proving the armbands would cause substantial disruption in class
Bethel vs. Fraser At a school assembly of approximately 600 high school students, Matthew Fraser made a speech nominating a fellow student for elective office. In his speech, Fraser used what some observers believed was a graphic sexual metaphor to promote the candidacy of his friend. As part of its disciplinary code, Bethel High School enforced a rule prohibiting conduct which "substantially interferes with the educational process... including the use of obscene, profane language or gestures." Fraser was suspended from school for two days.
Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier In this case about public school students’ First Amendment rights to a free press, the Court ruled that public school officials can censor school-sponsored, student-produced newspapers, because the newspapers are part of the school curriculum rather than a forum for public expression. As stated in Bethel v. Fraser (1986), schools do not have to sponsor speech that is inconsistent with their educational mission.
Morse vs. Frederick Joseph Frederick, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School, unfurled a banner saying "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" during the Olympic Torch Relay through Juneau, Alaska on January 24, 2002. Frederick's attendance at the event was part of a school- supervised activity. The school's principal, Deborah Morse, told Frederick to put away the banner, as she was concerned it could be interpreted as advocating illegal drug activity. After Frederick refused to comply, she took the banner from him. Frederick originally was suspended from school for 10 days for violating school policy, which forbids advocating the use of illegal drugs.