Prior Restraint Can Be Accepted
Uploaded by kyra666 on Mar 15, 2002
Some people believe that there are no circumstances under which prior restraint of the press, either print or broadcast, should be accepted or tolerated. I disagree with that statement and do believe there are certain times when prior restraint should be accepted or tolerated. This is not an issue that is or should be taken lightly because I am in strong agreement with protecting the First Amendment, however in specific and special cases I can understand the government feeling the need to intervene.
First of all, I agree with Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes during the case of Near v. Minnesota 283 U.S.697 (1931)., when he says that it is appropriate that the government can stop publication of material when it incites violence. I mean, it is possible for publishers to produce articles with highly debated arguments without being offensive or without using fighting words. In this case of starting violent acts, how is it possible to be in agreement with the argument that punishment of the press after publication is good enough censorship? I cannot see that it is good enough censorship when the violence has already begun. I believe in not letting the problem begin as opposed to trying to correct it once it takes place. But this is where people may say --well, where do we draw the line between what may or may not incite violence? To this I answer, we have seen what has incited violence in the past, and if we begin with that we have a good starting point. Then go from there, and take into consideration the possibility that some of the concerns from the past may not still be highly debatable currently.
I also believe prior restraint is acceptable when the national security is at stake, for example, during time of war or when it could cause harm to the nation. I believe there are things that the government does and knows about that should not be revealed to the general public. Therefore I believe it is fair for the president to have the right to classify documents as top secret. In the case of U.S. v. Progressive, 467 F. Supp. 990 (1979)., Progressive was attempting to publish an article about the hydrogen bomb. The government said the article presented "immediate, direct and irreparable harm to the interests of the United States" (Pember 2001). In this case I agree with the courts decision...