Freedom of the press protects the ability of journalists and news media to publish information free from official censorship. A free press serves an important role as the Fourth Estate in our democratic society, keeping the citizenry informed so that individuals may oversee the actions of the government. As Ida B. Wells stated, “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”
On college campuses, student journalists play a pivotal role in keeping other students informed about the actions of administrators, student governments, and more. FIRE defends freedom of the press on campus by providing resources and advocacy for student journalists through our Student Press Freedom Initiative. SPFI's 24/7 legal hotline at 717-734-7734 means that college journalists never have to face an act of censorship or an urgent legal issue alone.
Libel? Privacy? Intellectual property? When you’re producing a publication, there are so many legal risks to keep in mind. But don’t fear! We’ll go over tips and tricks for reviewing your own content to keep you out of the courtroom and in the newsroom.
Student journalists and publications play a vital role in informing their fellow students about campus events, serving as a check on their school’s administration, and uncovering stories that outside media might miss. With more and more local news outlets shuttering, many college newspapers are the primary source of information about not only what’s happening on campuses but also their surrounding communities.
We know from news reports—and from calls to FIRE and other advocacy organizations—that censorship of student media does, unfortunately, happen. But what neither news reports nor the calls the requests for help we receive tell us is the prevalence of this problem. This series of surveys contained in this report was designed to help illuminate that question.
Joining our student newspaper gave me a voice, and unfortunately it’s going to take a lawsuit for the university to listen to it.
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