Freedom of the press in the United States
is protected by the First Amendment
to the United States Constitution. This clause is generally understood as prohibiting the government from interfering with the printing and distribution of information or opinions, although freedom of the press
, like freedom of speech, is subject to some restrictions, such as defamation law and copyright law.
In Lovell v. City of Griffin
, Chief Justice Hughes defined the press as, "every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion."Lovell
, at 452. This includes everything from newspapers
As famously said by journalist A. J. Liebling
, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." The individuals, businesses, and organizations that own a means of publication are able to publish information and opinions without government interference, and cannot be compelled by the government to publish information and opinions that they disagree with. For example, the owner of a printing press cannot be required to print advertisements for a political opponent, even if the printer normally accepts commercial printing jobs.
In 1931, the U.S. Supreme Court
decision in Near v. Minnesota
used the 14th Amendment
to apply the freedom of the press to the States. Other notable cases regarding free press are: