Reflections on the First Amendment

Reflections on the First Amendment

The Application of malice clause and new interpretation of freedom of speech

HIS 301

The first amendment of the United States Constitution preserves a lot of provisions which work in a logical way that help to support the legal rights of people. Under the 1st amendment 3 important provisions are mentioned that defend the exercise of free speech. These types of provisions incorporate not making regulations that are infringing on the independence of speech, infringing on the independence of the mass media, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of issues. These types of provisions are meant to promote honest argumentation with no anxiety about governmental or legal reprisal. These types of provisions of the first amendment are created to help open discussion as the way of democratic government.

There have been a lot of examples which have questioned and provided ways of interpretation of the 1st amendment. Among the most popular and controversial most important is New York Times Co. versus Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). In such a case, the United States Supreme Court would develop the actual malice standard that serves as the step to be met prior to mass media reports about public officers and politicians are thought to be defamation or libel. The malice standard which all plaintiffs in defamation and libel court cases verify that publishers of papers or related publications understood that claims made were incorrect of that the publisher acted with clear disregard for the truth. The creation of the malice clause permits free reporting reliable activities without the continuous threat of legal actions. This law suit was born out of the civil rights movement in the Southern United States Of America.

Throughout the civil rights movement the media was under assault by government officers anywhere stories were carried which depicted law enforcement and officers in a negative way. Prior...