how do you think the First Amendment's freedom of the press protection should be applied during wartime? Do you think that the government should be allowed to censor press coverage or that the...

how do you think the First Amendment's freedom of the press protection should be applied during wartime? Do you think that the government should be allowed to censor press coverage or that the press should be allowed to report what it sees?

How do you think the First Amendment's freedom of the press protection should be applied during wartime? Do you think that the government should be allowed to censor press coverage or that the press should be allowed to report what it sees? Explain why or why not.

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It would be good if there were some fast track way of adjudicating the tension between the government's need to withhold for national security purposes and the press's right to publish because of the exigencies involved in defending the country and in the "hot off the presses" needs of the media today.  It also occurs to me that "war" today is a very loose term, since we are at war with various terrorist groups, not with nations.  And while this provides a greater justification for the suppression of information by the government, it also provides a means of eroding the freedom of the press into a meaningless right. 

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the press should be given the responsibility and held accountable for the information it puts out but should not be censored. If some censorship is allowed, it seems difficult to draw a consistent line as to what is okay to censor and what is beyond the government's reach.

In my opinion, the press should not print every piece of news it gets if some of that news will do harm without serving a public interest. But it should be the press regulating itself in these matters.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the government should be allowed to censor to some degree.  The reason for this is because we do not want the press to be putting out information that can be used by the enemy.  This would be things like what units are where or the number of casualties taken by a given unit in a given place.

The press needs to be able to report some things so that people at home know how the war is going, but not things that the enemy can use.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that newspapers will print anything that they think will make them more money, but you have to be careful how you label "war time" because the government could take advantage of it and declare almost any combat occasion a war.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the first post-- in terms of protecting national security and advancing our nation's war effort, the government should censor the media to protect troop movements, numbers, strength, and strategic decisions.

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