chapter 16

chapter 16 - 1 The cultural and social struggles over what...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 The cultural and social struggles over what constitutes free speech have defined the nature of American democracy. In 1989, when Supreme Court Justice William Brennan was asked to comment on his favorite part of the Constitution, he replied, The First Amendment, I expect. Its enforcement gives us this society. The other provisions of the Constitution really only embellish it. { Of all the issues that involve the mass media and popular culture, none are more central, or explosive, than freedom of expression and the First Amendment. Our nations fundamental development can often be traced to how much or how little we tolerated speech during particular historical periods. Focusing on the impact of cameras in the courtroom, we will examine some of the clashes between the First and Sixth Amendments. With regard to film, we review the social and political pressures that gave rise to early censorship boards and the current film ratings system. We turn to issues in broadcasting and examine why it has been treated differently from print media. Among other topics, we inspect the idea of indecency in broadcasting and the demise of the Fairness Doctrine. Finally, we explore the newest frontier in speechconcerns about expression on the Internet. 2 The Origins of Free Expression and a Free Press In Europe throughout the 1600s, in order to monitorand punish, if necessarythe speech of editors and writers, governments controlled the circulation of ideas by requiring printers to obtain licenses. In 1695, England stopped licensing newspapers, and most of Europe followed. In many democracies today, publishing a newspaper, magazine, or newsletter remains one of the few public or service enterprises that require no license. Models for Expression and Speech The international human rights organization Freedom House comparatively assesses political rights and civil liberties in 195 nations and territories. The most recent map counts 63 countries as Not Free, including Angola, Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Russia, and Zimbabwe. The authoritarian model developed about the time the printing press arrived in sixteenth-century England. Its advocates held that the general public, largely illiterate in those days, needed guidance from an elite, educated ruling class. Government criticism and public dissent were not tolerated, especially if such speech undermined the common goodan ideal that elites and rulers defined and controlled. Censorship was frequent, and the government issued printing licenses primarily to publishers who were sympathetic to government and ruling-class agendas. 3 Under most authoritarian models, the news is still controlled by private enterprise. But under the communist or state model , press control resides in government. Speaking for ordinary citizens and workers, state leaders believe they are enlightened and that the press should serve the common goals of the state. Although some state systemsof the state....
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chapter 16 - 1 The cultural and social struggles over what...

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