By: Stacy Liberatore
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Freedom of speech is the first amendment in The United States Constitution. Blood has been shed to keep this and the other amendments sacred. One could say it is written in black, white, and red.
The press has always been under the control of the wealthy and those of higher powers in the country, and because of this the public has lost its faith in the fact that the press will report the truth and nothing but the truth. Reporting stories via the news has become a corrupt and secretive business.
The press was initially created to serve the people with issues about its nation and the world. To inform us, warn us, and provide us with the truth. In a democracy the news media’s role is like a watchdog, monitoring the government. When the powers at be, control the information that is broadcasted to the public, it hinders that nation’s freedoms and weakens the relationship and trust between the public and the news media system.
But in today’s world we are bombarded with censored news from the media that we are told to trust. Whether it is for the greater good of the people, or simply to benefit the government; with either reason, it is infringing our first amendment. Censorship is a hand grenade of an accusation, and a writer should be serious before pulling the pin.
In September of 2006, it was said there was less than ten embedded journalists covering the war in Iraq, the public was outraged at this. During the Vietnam War there were many more and they had the liberty of going where they wanted and covering any story they felt needed to be broadcasted. The public is blaming the news networks for the lack of journalists on the war front, but in actuality the government only permits one embedded journalist for every 75,000 soldiers. And in the long run, most journalists give up on their task due to the dangers that they face. So in reality, fingers can be pointed in every direction; at government officials and the journalists themselves.
Free speech is what separates us from every other country in the world. We, the United States have more freedoms than anyone else. But the government tries to take away more and more, lit by little. Our founding fathers wrote the first amendment to give the people the right to speak up against the British without being punished. Censorship is a complete contradiction to what our forefathers wanted for this nation. If our first amendment is altered or worse removed entirely, what’s next? We might as well live in a communist country where we won’t have to think, because the government won’t allow it. We might as well put a gag around the Statue of Liberty’s mouth, because that is the image we will be representing if censorship isn’t fought against.