Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Key Documents: Section I. Journalism, Media, and the Law - Constitutional Amendments
The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States, established a collection of basic human prerogatives on a federal level that mirrored many of the rights already guaranteed by individual states. The First Amendment—designed to protect freedom of speech and of the press, along with freedom of religion and the right to peaceable assembly—became the basis for many of the laws that govern the practice of journalism in the United States. The Fourth and Sixth Amendments, to a lesser degree, also influenced the legal guidelines for journalists. The meaning of the First Amendment for journalists is largely based on the way the Supreme Court and more minor courts interpret the original intent of the framers of the Bill of Rights. Various justices over the years have embraced a number of different theories on just how freedom of speech and of the press should be ...