Costs and benefits of free speech and press

Freedom of speech and press, or freedom of expression, are "fundamental rights". Without these freedoms a truly free society cannot exist. By definition, they allow the citizens to communicate their ideas both verbally and in print. There are many advantages, as well as disadvantages, that an individual receives these rights. However, as with most constitutional freedoms, free of expression can be limited under certain circumstances.

The First Amendment in the United States Constitution states ?Congress shall make no law?abridging the freedom of speech, or the press?? According to the Framers, the freedom to express individual views is vital to a free government and from their personal experience the freedom to write and publish also needs to be sheltered from government intervention. Every state constitution contains securities of free expression similar to the U.S. Constitution. An extra safeguard for the individual's right to free expression is stated in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment: ?No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.? By incorporation of the 14th Amendment, the rewards of the 1st Amendment not only include protection from the federal government, but state governments.

Free expression sponsors development of individuals by allowing people to have their own opinions and is also essential in shaping governmental policy. Also, by permitting citizens to influence public opinion by persuasion rather than violence, free expression allows for peaceful social change. For example, in the 1950s and 60s the civil rights movement peaceably brought ...

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Freedom of speech not only protects the right to speak out, but the right not to speak. This includes when a person is first arrested and their right not to speak is kept by Miranda Rights. In the Fifth Amendment, a person has the right to keep silent in court if they will incriminate themselves. Still, if a judge grants immunity testifying is mandatory but nothing said will be used against you.

Free expression protects us from the government. Obviously the benefits outweigh the costs, but, the negative aspects are remedied through limitations on free expression so as not to interfere with a person?s life, liberty, and property. The right not to speak is protected through various Amendments in the Constitution most noticeably Amendment 1. It is through these guidelines that free expression has become fundamental law and establishes a truly free society.

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