Freedom of the Press Essay Contest runner-up: Middle school category

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When talking about freedom of the press, Voltaire says it best: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Freedom of the press is the essential right to have an opinion and be able to express it. Sounds trivial, but it is the exact opposite. Freedom of the press is most commonly used in the newspaper and the Internet. Freedom of the press changes the way we live and was an important tool in shaping America. Freedom of the press is a building block to all of the rights we have, because they are all interconnected.

Without freedom of the press, freedom of speech, religious freedom and many others are all constrained. What is a “constrained freedom” anyway? That’s not a freedom at all.

Freedom of the press is also widely used to gain other rights and make changes. How did the suffragists gain suffrage? They used freedom of the press to spread the word and protest for what they felt was right. In 1955, Emmett Till was killed because blacks were treated inferior to whites. His story was spread throughout America (through our right to freedom of the press) and ultimately started the fight for civil rights. Not everybody has the rights we are blessed with, like people in North Korea. The North Korean government is constantly censoring what the public hears, keeping them oblivious. It is when the truth is uncovered that society changes for the better.

Simply put by Thomas Jefferson, “Our liberty depends on freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

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