STUDENT PRESS FREEDOM (A reflection paper) Name of Student (author) Name of University Introduction The freedom of the press, similar to the freedom of religion, is a sacrosanct freedom and is enshrined in the Constitution as the First Amendment. This precedence among amendments is to show how important these freedoms are to a fully-functioning democracy…
The freedom of the press is quite vast, such that a few politicians have referred to the public press as the fourth estate, essentially conferring on it the same degree of importance and significance as the other three branches of the government. It can conduct its own inquiries in search of truth, in the name of public interest, like investigative journalism in which certain anomalies involving public funds can be uncovered, as an example. Discussion Freedom of the press carries with it vast powers but imposes the strict standards of ethics and principles adopted by the members of the press who consider their job as a profession. As such, the press refers originally to previous regimes in which news and information are obtained from newspapers, but in today's digital world, press also refers to all types of media available, like print, radio, television, and Internet (e-mails, blogs, and social networking sites) where information can spread very quickly indeed on a worldwide basis. The right to exercise this freedom is synonymous with all the responsibilities to exercise it in a responsible manner, to prevent abuses, promote welfare, and maintain journalistic independence (Brown, 2011, p. 16). This paper discusses some of the issues involving the laws on media, and in particular, the specific sub-topic of freedom of the student press. In this regard, students who work in their own student or school publications learn firsthand the basics of what responsible journalism is all about, gaining valuable experience in the exercise of this important basic constitutional right. It is incumbent on high school and college students to know some of the limits on this freedom that can either promote student interests without deviating into other extraneous topics which do not concern them primarily as students, although student activism can find expression in this outlet. Student publications often are in the forefront of burning issues of the day, such as the anti-war protests, civil rights movement, and the sexual revolution, including gay and lesbian rights. How freedom of the student press is enjoyed is also a matter for the courts to decide, but generally speaking, how this freedom is allowed, subject to certain limitations, is also subject to the context and spirit of the times. There are periods when press freedom is exercised very freely while there are times when the government and the courts clamped down, to protect the rights of other people or citizens, but also to protect and enhance the entire educational process as learning is given more priority to prepare the students for full citizenship rights later on as adults. A good number of precedent-setting legal cases have been filed to clarify student press freedom. Student press freedom is to be balanced with other general public interest concerns, and students of public schools usually enjoy more leeway when compared to students of the private schools. A primary issue is prior restraint, or censorship, exercised on student publications by the school administrators, choosing which topics are printable and which subjects are off limits. This is to help promote responsible journalism among students who may go on to become journalists. Some topics not fit for print in student publications include anything considered obscene or contrary to public ...
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