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Essay about Freedom of Expression

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    One of the most controversial parts of the First Amendment of the US Constitution concerns freedom of expression. Some Americans, such as the Libertarians, feel there should be no censorship. On the other end of the spectrum are more conservative people, many religious, who believe there should be strict limits on what can be published.

Most people would agree it is a bad idea to publish or put on the Internet the plans for homemade bombs, biological weapons, or other devices which may be used to kill or maim someone. But in the name of freedom of the press, this information is available. Censors would like to make this practice illegal, because it may facilitate a crime. Others say criminals will always find a way to do what they want to do, without having to go to the library.

 

Those in favor of censorship would also like to keep acts of torture, murder, and executions off T.V., where children might see them. So far, television has been quite responsible in censoring itself and not broadcasting too many of these kinds of scenes. Usually they tell the viewer ahead of time what they are about to show "may be disturbing to some people." Many death penalty opponents argue executions should be televised, hoping that when people see it they will want to outlaw the practice.

 

Sometimes freedom of the press goes too far, as in those cases where suspects are tried and convicted in the media before they even go to trial. The case of Richard Jewell, the security guard who was a suspect in the Atlanta bombing, is a good example of this. Even though the police found no evidence against him, some newsmen actually called him the bomber (he sued, and won). For the past few months, President Clinton has been tried i...


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...."  7 Feb. 1998.  <http://www.scimitar.com/revolution/express/flag.html> 

(17 March 1998).

* LaMarche Gara.  "Hate Speech Should Not Be Outlawed."  Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints.

Ed.  Charles P. Cozic.  San Diego:  Greenhaven Press, 1994.  90-95.

* Otto, Jean.  "Freedom of Expression Should Not Be Restricted."  Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints.

Ed.  Charles P. Cozic.  San Diego:  Greenhaven Press, 1994.  79-84.

* Rupke, Roxanne.  "Zeeland students to recommend T-shirt rules."  Holland Sentinel.  25 March 1998:  A1, A5.

* Showers, Robert H.  "Pornography Sould Be Prohibited."  Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints.

Ed.  Charles P. Cozic.  San Diego:  Greenhaven Press, 1994.  96-102.

* "T-shirt ban: Pepsi shirt gets him in trouble on Coke Day at Greenbrier High."  Holland Sentinel. 

26 March 1998:  A1.



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