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3 Major Restraints That The Government Has On The Media

599 words - 2 pages

Although, American's press system is among the freest in world, there is no medium of communication that is completely free of government power. The First Ammendment to the Constitution states that the government may not censor the press, except under defiant circumstances. "Press" refers not only to print media, but to radio, television, and the Internet as well. Freedom from prior restraint means that reporters and editors are free to decide what they will say, even if it is unpopular and embarrassing to the government or to individual politicians. However, no one is free to publish false information that will harm someones reputation, this is called libel. A Magazine or Newspaper may be sued if the information that it contains is considered obscene, libelous, or incites someone to commit an illegal act - this tends to be very difficult to prove in court and government officials rarely win libel lawsuits. In the court case, New York Times vs. the U.S, the federal government attempted to prevent the New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers(secret documents), the Court allowed NY Times to publish the document.Reporters believe that the source of their stories have the right to be kept private and confidential. The federal government and some states do not agree with this policy, in many cases the courts are left to come to a decision whether the need of the journalist to protect confidential sources does or does not outweigh the interest of the government in gathering evidence in a criminal investigation. This altercation occurs not only between reporters and law enforcement agenceis but also between reporters and the person accused of commiting the crime. Susan Wornick, a reporter, was arrested when she refused to reveal the name of a person who told her that...

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