BACK IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY, THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.
The press was only free to publish news if the people running it said what the government wanted. Otherwise, the press was the opposite of free. That was one of the reasons your parents wanted to come live in the U.S. “In America,” your mother said, “you can say what you want and you can print what you want.”
That’s why what happened last week came as such a shock to you.
You’re a reporter for your school’s newspaper, and you did an interview with another student who has some rather bold ideas about making the smoking of cigarettes illegal. You don’t even agree with his ideas, but you still felt that they should be shared in the newspaper. You pay close attention to politics in your adopted country. You’ve been hearing a lot of people say that “we’re all just living in our little bubbles” – meaning that we only talk with people whose ideas match our own. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to print some controversial ideas in the school newspaper? Even if they weren’t popular, wouldn’t those ideas get people out of their “bubbles” and talking with each other?
Once the newspaper was printed, your principal called you and the student you had interviewed down to his office. What was in the interview was “totally unacceptable,” he said, and he was considering suspending both of you from school for at least a week.
How in the world did this happen?
Even in the U.S., there are differences of opinion about freedom of the press. Investigate the primary sources. What evidence supports the view that you should be free to print even controversial opinions in a school newspaper? Make your case.
Have your students take this challenge and make their case! To begin, send your students to this website with this challenge’s code.
Freedom of press the is the right of newspapers, magazines, websites, and other publications to report news without being controlled by the government.