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Word Count: 597
Although Americans press system is among the freest in world there is no medium of communication that is completely free of government power The First Ammendment to the Constitution states that the government may not censor the press except under defiant circumstances Press refers not only to print media but to radio television and the Internet as well Freedom from prior restraint means that reporters and editors are free to decide what they will say even if it is unpopular and embarrassing to the government or to individual politicians However no one is free to publish false information that will harm someones reputation this is called libel A Magazine or Newspaper may be sued if the information that it contains is considered obscene libelous or incites someone to commit an illegal act - this tends to be very difficult to prove in court and government officials rarely win libel lawsuits In the court case New York Times vs the US the federal government attempted to prevent the New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Paperssecret documents the Court allowed NY Times to publish the document Reporters believe that the source of their stories have the right to be kept private and confidential The federal government and some states do not agree with this policy in many cases the courts are left to come to a decision whether the need of the journalist to protect confidential sources does or does not outweigh the interest of the government in gathering evidence in a criminal investigation This altercation occurs not only between reporters and law enforcement agenceis but also between reporters and the person accused of commiting the crime Susan Wornick a reporter was arrested when she refused to reveal the name of a person who told her that police officers had broken into a drug store Media 256 The federal government does have some power to regulate the broadcast media The government decides who gets access to
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