Saturday, March 26, 2005

Freedom of the (Printing) Press

Freedom of the printing press is the right to free expression.
It is the same right as the right to speak, and related to the right to assemble.
John Adams to Jefferson, 1815:
What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the Revolution; it was only an effect and a consequence of it. The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a single drop of blood was shed at Lexington. The records of thirteen legislatures, the pamphlets, the newspapers in all the colonies, ought to be consulted during that period to ascertain the steps by which the public opinion was enlightened and informed concerning the authority of Parliament over the colonies.
*as quoted in The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. B.Bailyn, p.1
Slate article, on Freedom of the pamphleteer and the broadsider:
The professional press ... didn't even exist until the late 19th century.
Freedom of the press is a "fundamental personal right" which "is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets.
US Supreme Court. Branzburg v. Hayes (1972)

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