DOES FREEDOM OF PRESS HAVE A LIMIT?
Minda has always wanted to be a journalist. That’s why she is so excited when she gets the chance to be a student intern at the local paper.
Minda grew up hearing stories from her parents and grandparents who were born in a country without a free press. There, newspapers could only publish news if it said what the government wanted. A free press means that the government cannot make laws to restrict the press or individuals from speaking freely.
Minda’s first assignment at the paper is to attend a press conference given by the local mayor. The mayor wants to talk about her pet project, building a new public transportation line. But outside the press conference, several protesters hold signs saying, “Protect Our Land, No New Trains.” These protesters don’t want a new public transportation line to be built on land that’s part of the nature preserve protecting plants and animals.
After the press conference, Minda writes about the new transportation line and another reporter is assigned to write about the protester’s concerns.
The day after the paper is published, the mayor’s office calls to complain.
How do you think the newspaper should respond?
Even in the U.S., there are differences of opinion about freedom of the press. Investigate the primary sources. Are there limits on the freedom of press? How does the press help keep the government in check? 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.