The long and strong tradition of state protection of freedom of the press

Joe Mathewson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution did not initiate protection of the press, even in the United States, nor is it on the cutting edge ofpress freedom today. Freedom ofthe press was first conceived and stated in the constitutions of most of the original states, all enacted before Independence. Most ofthem stated an af firmative right to publish, and today nearly all state constitutions do. The First Amendment, adopted years later than those original constitutions, was comparatively weak. Not until the middle of the twentieth century did the Supreme Court interpret the First Amendment as guaranteeing a right to publish, and today federal low still lags behind the states’ in its failure to protect journalists from revealing confidential sources in legal proceedings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-112
Number of pages32
JournalAmerican Journalism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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