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Freedom of the Press Julian Jackson Abby Anderson.

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1 Freedom of the Press Julian Jackson Abby Anderson

2 Amendment 1 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." ~ The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitutionof the press

3 Near V. Minnesota Facts of the Case: Jay Near published a scandal sheet in Minneapolis, in which he attacked local officials, charging that they were implicated with gangsters. Minnesota officials obtained an injunction to prevent Near from publishing his newspaper under a state law that allowed such action against periodicals. The law provided that any person "engaged in the business" of regularly publishing or circulating an "obscene, lewd, and lascivious" or a "malicious, scandalous and defamatory" newspaper or periodical was guilty of a nuisance, and could be enjoined (stopped) from further committing or maintaining the nuisance.

4 Near V. Minnesota Does the Minnesota "gag law" violate the free press provision of the First Amendment? Conclusion: June 1, 1931 The Supreme Court held that the statute authorizing the injunction was unconstitutional as applied. History had shown that the protection against previous restraints was at the heart of the First Amendment. The Court held that the statutory scheme constituted a prior restraint and hence was invalid under the First Amendment. Thus the Court established as a constitutional principle the doctrine that, with some narrow exceptions, the government could not censor or otherwise prohibit a publication in advance, even though the communication might be punishable after publication in a criminal or other proceeding

5 New York Times V. United States Facts of the Case: In what became known as the "Pentagon Papers Case," the Nixon Administration attempted to prevent the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing materials belonging to a classified Defense Department study regarding the history of United States activities in Vietnam. The President argued that prior restraint was necessary to protect national security. This case was decided together with United States v. Washington Post Co.

6 New York Times v. United States Question: Did the Nixon administration's efforts to prevent the publication of what it termed "classified information" violate the First Amendment Conclusion: Yes. In its per curiam opinion the Court held that the government did not overcome the "heavy presumption against" prior restraint of the press in this case. Justices Black and Douglas argued that the vague word "security" should not be used "to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment." Justice Brennan reasoned that since publication would not cause an inevitable, direct, and immediate event imperiling the safety of American forces, prior restraint was unjustified. Decisions Decision: 6 votes for New York Times, 3 vote(s) against Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly June 30, 1971

7 Roth v. United States Facts of the Case: Roth operated a book-selling business in New York and was convicted of mailing obscene circulars and an obscene book in violation of a federal obscenity statute. Roth's case was combined with Alberts v. California, in which a California obscenity law was challenged by Alberts after his similar conviction for selling lewd and obscene books in addition to composing and publishing obscene advertisements for his products Question: Did either the federal or California's obscenity restrictions, prohibiting the sale or transfer of obscene materials through the mail, impinge upon the freedom of expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment?

8 Roth v. United States Conclusion: In a 6-to-3 decision written by Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., the Court held that obscenity was not "within the area of constitutionally protected speech or press." The Court noted that the First Amendment was not intended to protect every utterance or form of expression, such as materials that were "utterly without redeeming social importance." The Court held that the test to determine obscenity was "whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest." The Court held that such a definition of obscenity gave sufficient fair warning and satisfied the demands of Due Process. Brennan later reversed his position on this issue in Miller v. California (1973). Decisions Decision: 6 votes for United States, 3 vote(s) against Legal provision: 18 U.S.C. 1461

9 Branzburg v. Hayes Facts of the Case: After observing and interviewing a number of people synthesizing and using drugs in a two-county area in Kentucky, Branzburg, a reporter, wrote a story which appeared in a Louisville newspaper. On two occasions he was called to testify before state grand juries which were investigating drug crimes. Branzburg refused to testify and potentially disclose the identities of his confidential sources. Similarly, in the companion cases of In re Pappas and United States v. Caldwell, two different reporters, each covering activity within the Black Panther organization, were called to testify before grand juries and reveal trusted information. Like Branzburg, both Pappas and Caldwell refused to appear before their respective grand juries.

10 Branzburg v. Hayes Question: Is the requirement that news reporters appear and testify before state or federal grand juries an abridgement of the freedoms of speech and press as guaranteed by the First Amendment? Conclusion: No. The Court found that requiring reporters to disclose confidential information to grand juries served a "compelling" and "paramount" state interest and did not violate the First Amendment. Justice White argued that since the case involved no government intervention to impose prior restraint, and no command to publish sources or to disclose them indiscriminately, there was no Constitutional violation. The fact that reporters receive information from sources in confidence does not privilege them to withhold that information during a government investigation; the average citizen is often forced to disclose information received in confidence when summoned to testify in court. Decisions Decision: 5 votes for Hayes, 4 vote(s) against Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

11 Red Lion Broadcasting v. Federal Communications Commission Facts of the Case: The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) fairness doctrine requires radio and television broadcasters to present a balanced and fair discussion of public issues on the airwaves. The doctrine is composed of two primary requirements concerning personal attacks in the context of public issue debates and political editorializing. The FCC conditioned its renewal of broadcast licenses on compliance with its regulations. Red Lion Broadcasting challenged the application of the fairness doctrine with respect to a particular broadcast. In a companion case (United States v. Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA)), the fairness doctrine's requirements concerning any broadcast were challenged Question: Do the FCC's fairness doctrine regulations, concerning personal attacks made in the context of public issue debates and political editorializing, violate the First Amendment's freedom of speech guarantees?

12 Red Lion Broadcasting Company v. FCC Conclusion: In a unanimous decision, the Court held that the fairness doctrine was consistent with the First Amendment. Writing for the Court, Justice White argued that spectrum scarcity made it "idle to posit an unabridgeable First Amendment right to broadcast comparable to the right of every individual to speak, write, or publish." The Court held that the FCC's fairness doctrine regulations enhanced rather than infringed the freedoms of speech protected under the First Amendment. With respect to the regulation of personal attacks made in the context of public issue debates, the FCC's requirement that the subject of the attack be provided with a tape, transcript, or broadcast summary, as well as an opportunity to respond without having to prove an inability to pay for the "air-time," insured a balanced and open discussion of contested issues. The requirement that political editorializing be presented for and against both sides of the debated issues also contributed to the balanced discussion of public concerns. Decisions Decision: 7 votes for, 0 vote(s) against Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

13 Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates VietNow National Headquarters, a charitable nonprofit corporation, retained for-profit fundraising telemarketing corporations to solicit donations to aid Vietnam veterans. The contracts provided that the telemarketers would retain 85 percent of the gross receipts from Illinois donors. The Illinois Attorney General filed a complaint in state court, alleging that the telemarketers represented to donors that a significant amount of each dollar donated would be paid over to VietNow for charitable endeavors and that such representations were knowingly deceptive and materially false and constituted a fraud. The trial court granted the telemarketers' motion to dismiss on First Amendment grounds. In affirming, the Illinois Supreme Courts relied on U.S. Supreme Court precedent that held that certain regulations of charitable solicitation barring fees in excess of a prescribed level effectively imposed prior restraints on fundraising and were therefore incompatible with the First Amendment. Question: Does the First Amendment permit a State to maintain fraud actions alleging that fundraisers made false or misleading representations designed to deceive donors about how their donations will be used?

14 Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates Conclusion: Yes. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court held that, consistent with the Court's precedent and the First Amendment, States may maintain fraud actions when fundraisers make false or misleading representations designed to deceive donors about how their donations will be used. The Court reasoned that, while bare failure to disclose that information directly to potential donors does not suffice to establish fraud, when nondisclosure is accompanied by intentionally misleading statements designed to deceive the listener, the First Amendment does not preclude a fraud claim. Because the state's action was on misrepresentations that were not protected by freedom of speech, rather than the high percentage of donations retained, the Court concluded that the allegations against the telemarketers therefore state a claim for relief that can survive a motion to dismiss. Decisions Decision: 9 votes for Madigan, 0 vote(s) against Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

15 Timeline Near v. Minnesota- June 1931 Red Lion v. FCC – June 9, 1969 NYT v. US – June 30, 1971 Branzburg v. Hayes – June 29, 1972 Roth v. United States – 1973 Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates – May 5, 2003

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18 h7dcg h7dcg How free is the press today and what did the founders intend?


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