from my state – literally and figuratively – and other places. i'm not in florida any more, but i haven't given up the sunshine.

11.30.2005

freedom of the publisher

administrators at a tennessee high school snatched up just-distributed copies of the school paper because they said an article on birth control needed to be edited to make it “acceptable to the entire school”. a university of tenn professor cried foul, saying it was about administration control. an article from the local independent media center calls the action censorship.

without getting off topic about ridiculous sex education (er, abstinence only) policies, i’m inclined to agree – it’s censorship. then again it is a school newspaper. technically the school is the publisher, and any publisher has the right to determine what is or is not printed in their own newspaper. so, is it the school’s right, as “publisher” to determine the paper’s contents, even if it means censoring certain topics? or, as a government entity, is a school bound to honor first amendment rights for its students?

3 Comments:

Blogger Kiker said...

I wish I could site the case for you... but I can't remember the name of it.

Essentially, high school students do not have a right to free press.

(At least that is what I learned in high school... Do you think that was a conspiracy?)

11/30/2005 02:33:00 PM

 
Blogger betsy said...

an interesting perspective from an organization called first amendment schools: http://www.firstamendmentschools.org/freedoms/faq.aspx?id=12818

the whole thing is interesting, but the basic gist is: "if the school has an official policy of prior review in place, or can clearly establish a history of prior review, the Hazelwood standard applies and a greater degree of censorship is allowed. If, however, the school declares itself an open forum for ideas, then the Tinker standard [upholding 1st amend freedom] applies."

11/30/2005 02:57:00 PM

 
Blogger Amanda said...

My thoughts on this are mixed. i think if the paper had some sort of crass or obscene content (nudity, 900-number ads, etc.) it would be one thing. But it sounds to me like they just pulled it because it didn't agree with that THEY thought was appropriate. In that case, i cry foul.

11/30/2005 03:46:00 PM

 

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