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Your Right to Free Speech

As a community access television station, we support your right to free speech. The right to free speech is embedded in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
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”
We want you to understand this right and to exercise it in the way you want. So we’re providing you information to help you understand your free speech rights and how these continue to be shaped by current events and court decisions.

Featured free speech story

Philip Napoli, professor at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, proposes that the rise of fake news in social media may bring into question certain basic assumptions about the benefits of free speech. Fake news, the First Amendment and failure in the marketplace of ideas – on phys.org. Agree? Disagree? Exercise your rights to free speech!

Getting started

Check out this 15 minute video from the Khan Academy to learn some basics about the first amendment.

Government vs. private restrictions

Free speech protections are protections against government restrictions, whether federal, state, or local. They are not protections against private sector restrictions, such as banning of content by social media companies. For a couple recent examples of this distinction, see Roseanne Barr and the NFL: What Counts as Free Speech? at the Rolling Stone website.

Where are we today?

Here are some articles that talk about different situations in which speech may or may not be protected:

What are the limits on free speech?

Free speech is not an unlimited right. In interpreting the first amendment’s protections of free speech, the Supreme Court has had to consider what restrictions may apply, most of which you likely have heard of:
For more information about allowed limits on free speech, see Freedom of Speech and the Press – National Constitution Center.