The First Amendment provides some of the most basic and fundamental rights guaranteed to people in the United States. Of these fundamental rights, many consider the rights to freedom of speech and press paramount. Both the federal and state governments are prohibited from limiting an individual's rights to expression, whether it is through speech, press, assembly, or association.
The freedom of speech, specifically, is the right to express one’s beliefs without any form of governmental interference. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech by prohibiting the government from:
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the right given to the media to communicate and express free speech through media and published material without any governmental interference. This means that the government cannot tell the media what to write and what not to write. However, there are some exceptions to this rule under the FCC laws.
The right to free speech is an essential ingredient to any civilized and healthy society. Some of the benefits of free speech include:
As Americans, we are fortunate to have a guaranteed right to freedom of expression. This right allows us to express ourselves freely, through any medium, without fear of government prosecution or censorship. Under the First Amendment, you can:
Although the First Amendment grants a right to freedom of speech, not all speech is constitutionally protected. Some forms of speech are unprotected, while a number of other forms of speech receive limited or conditional protection. These types of speech are denied full protection because the Supreme Court of the United States has determined that the intrinsic value of such speech is nominal. The following categories of speech are constitutionally unprotected:
The government also may decide what its own personnel and employees are allowed to say while they are on official duty and may either sponsor some speech, but not others. If a government worker is saying things that are not part of their official governmental duty, then the government cannot limit this kind of speech.
If you feel that your constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech or the press have been compromised, you should contact a government attorney. Speaking with a lawyer will inform you of your rights as well as preserve any possible legal remedies you may have.
Last Modified: 06-22-2017 12:23 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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