• Attention high school journalists: May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day

    Date: 05.02.11 | by Judge Tom.

    For the first time in United States history, World Press Freedom Day will be celebrated on May 3, 2011. Started in 1993 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),  it’s purpose is to draw attention to the obstacles journalists face in gathering and distributing information necessary for an informed public.

    For America, it’s a time to appreciate and reflect on the First Amendment’s promise of “freedom of the press.” We enjoy some of the strongest protections against government intrusion of any country in the world. However, such freedom is not fully applicable to reporters and journalists in middle schools, high schools and colleges.

    Since the U. S. Supreme Court decided Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier*  in 1988, schools have permission to censor student publications, articles, yearbooks and theatrical productions. In Hazelwood, the principal of the high school in Missouri, pulled two pages from the school year’s final edition of The Spectrum in 1983. Articles covering divorce and teen pregnancy were considered highly personal and inappropriate for younger students.

    The student editors challenged the school’s censorship and lost. After five years of litigation, the Supreme Court concluded that “Educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to a valid educational purpose.”

    Since Hazelwood, a few states have passed laws providing greater freedom to student media (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon and Massachusetts, for example). For more information about student journalism rights, take a look at the Student Press Law Center site.

    For more information about this year’s celebration in Washington, D.C. from May 1 to May 3, 2011, click here.

    *484 U.S. 260 (1988).

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    3 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Mon, 02 May 2011 at 04:33

      Attention high school journalists: May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day http://bit.ly/mIfFij

    • Askthejudge.info
      Tue, 03 May 2011 at 12:37

      Tomorrow is World Press Freedom Day. Find out more about our precious right – freedom of the press. http://fb.me/UlLNl278

    • Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney Matt Ingham
      Sun, 03 Jul 2011 at 11:58

      A nationally recognized day that honors the principles of ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of the press’…it doesn’t get any more American than that :)

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