Amidst the celebration of Constitution week at Ferris, it is important to reflect on how our rights as American citizens came into existence.
The U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787 and is the foundation on which all laws are based. The Bill of Rights, representing the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, came into effect in 1791. The founding fathers found it imperative that the first amendment give citizens the right to freedom of the press.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are two rights that citizens often take for granted. In many nations, a person can be killed for speaking out against their country’s government or political leaders. The freedom to express your opinion about any topic is one that we often do not even think about. It is second nature for Americans to express their feelings toward other people, policies or politicians.
The founders of this country recognized that citizens needed the right to speak and print news freely without being harassed or ridiculed simply because a leader has a different view. It was the first amendment because it was the most important and it is a fundamental part of a democracy.
Imagine how different our lives would be without the freedom of the press. Would Richard Nixon have gotten away with the ordered break-in of the Watergate building if it had not been for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s articles in the Washington Post? If newspapers were not allowed to freely publish information, Nixon may have remained president and the general public may have never known the truth.
Newspapers, TV stations, magazines and other media outlets are subject to a particular set of regulations and cannot merely print whatever they wish. It is, however, the duty of newspapers across the nation to provide the general public news and information that they would otherwise not receive. Never take for granted even our most basic rights because many people in this world are not nearly as fortunate. n