Positive First Amendment

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees five basic freedoms: (1) religion, (2) speech, (3) press, and the right to (4) assemble and to (5) petition the government for a redress of grievances. Those who advocate for a positive, or progressive, First Amendment are particularly interested in how the First Amendment affects media law and policy. A positive First Amendment approach insists that the government should have a more active role in promoting a better speech environment for citizens so that a healthier democracy can flourish. This entry first distinguishes between the positive and negative approaches to the First Amendment. It then discusses the positive First Amendment approach in practice, how the negative approach has generally prevailed in court rulings on the news media, ...

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