"Congress shall make no law..
.abridging the freedom of speech,
or of the press..
." The First Amendment of the Constitution
guarantees the freedom of press.
Freedom of press is the liberty to obtain
and publish information openly without fear
of government censorship or punishment.
Especially in the modern era of widely accessible news and innumerable information at our fingertips, freedom of press is a highly valued liberty that citizens should be aware of and know the reason why it was given to us as Americans. Our founding fathers accorded freedom of press such a prominent placement in our Constitution because it represented the inherent values and liberties that the United States was founded on. This freedom remains so crucial to preserving our system of government because the press acts as a fundamental check upon society and the government.
The founders of the United States, important political figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, all gave prominent positions to the freedom of press. The anti-British press was one of the core reasons the thirteen British colonies broke away from Great Britain to practice their own rights, interests, and faiths. The press would become a huge motivating factor in creating a more perfect union where the direction of the country would be shifted by the influences of the people’s ideas. Thomas Paine’s radical pamphlet, Common Sense and Paul Revere’s drawing of the Boston Massacre are examples of influential political propaganda that revolutionized the opinions of America against Britain.
The liberties that are secured in the Constitution could not have been fully expressed without the freedom of press. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said “Freedom of conscience, of education, or speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged.”
The freedom of press remains so crucial to preserving our system of government because the press acts as a fundamental check upon society and government. The founders of the United States wanted freedom of press as just another tool in the toolbox to question the power of the three branches of government. The problem of the freedom of press is sometimes its inefficiency of transferring “correct” information due to business interests of boosting profit through stories of entertainment, conflict or fake news.
However, as many people, such as presidents and CEOs, want to deliver their message unfiltered, journalists also want to express their perspectives of the world.
“The press is performing a necessary, adversarial function.”
Though, oftentimes, people in power
don't like to be asked questions,
the proper role of the press,
is to ask questions to those in power.
especially in today’s world of a media-disparaging government
and shifting political agendas,
it’s important to look back on the constitutional values of America and maintain a balanced system of government in the U.S.
by analyzing and questioning authoritative figures
through the press.