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Month: July 2020

Freedom of the Press is under attack

Freedom of the Press is under attack

By Jan S. Gephardt Important as the “sages of the ages” may have considered it to be, freedom of the press is under attack in the first quarter of the 21st Century. Many economic problems have beset our news media. Local newspapers have taken the hardest blows. The business model that profitably supported newspapers and what we now consider “traditional” broadcast news media for decades has eroded out from under these organizations in the Age of the Internet. Freedom of…

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The importance of Freedom of the Press

The importance of Freedom of the Press

By Jan S. Gephardt Today my First Amendment series shifts its focus to the importance of Freedom of the Press. Of the “four freedoms” enshrined in the First Amendment, I take this one especially personally. My first paying job was writing stories for a local “shopper” newspaper (back when those existed). Journalism was my undergraduate minor (only because my school didn’t offer a major). I’ve been a freelance or staff reporter for several publications over the years. And I taught…

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Freedom of Speech Part Two: Not a crime but not okay

Freedom of Speech Part Two: Not a crime but not okay

By Jan S. Gephardt Do we really have as much freedom of speech as we think? Do we have more than we realize? Or have we misunderstood the whole concept? Two weeks ago, I started a series of posts on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Last week I discussed “When Speech is a Crime,” exploring the exceptions to the First Amendment. Now might be a good moment to remember what the First Amendment actually says. In my…

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Freedom of Speech Part One: Speech isn’t free when it’s a crime

Freedom of Speech Part One: Speech isn’t free when it’s a crime

By Jan S. Gephardt When it comes to freedom of speech, we have a lot of latitude. We’ve all heard someone say, “It’s a free country! I can say anything I want!” But is that right? Can you literally say anything? Last week I started a series of posts on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The section of the First Amendment relevant to today’s post says, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom…

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Freedom of Religion: Is the First Amendment an aspiration, or reality?

Freedom of Religion: Is the First Amendment an aspiration, or reality?

By Jan S. Gephardt Freedom of Religion: do we really have it? During our passage from Juneteenth to the Fourth of July this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. And especially the specific freedoms it enshrines. The “Defund or Abolish the Police” movement has driven me (along with many others) to take some long, hard looks at the institution of policing, its history, and what it could become, if remade in a better way. But—also in…

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