WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Constitution and Freedom of the Press

Sep 18, 2013

Four scholars at Western Illinois University shared their perspectives on the First Amendment.

Their discussion was held in celebration of Constitution Day. The U.S. Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787.

Among their comments on First Amendment-related issues:

Kimberly Rice of the Department of Political Science - “We’re going to have to decide in this increasingly competitive political environment, and in an environment where information is so free and so universal and so accessible at any moment … how that is going to affect our understanding, our interpretation, and our belief in this particular clause.”

Mahrya Carncross of University Libraries – “Most of the worldwide Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Information laws don’t make any provision for private corporations like publishers. Usually their jurisdiction is just the government. This is really problematic because private publishers control the flow of information in our modern society.”

The panelists: Kimberly Rice, Mahrya Carncross, Yong Tang, and Roger Sadler (left to right)
Credit Rich Egger

Yong Tang of the Department of English & Journalism – “Freedom of Information or Legal Right of Access should be afforded Constitutional protection. In other words, Freedom of Information should become one part of our First Amendment rights. Without such a First Amendment protection, our Freedom of Information Act system is breaking down. It becomes toothless.”

Roger Sadler of the Department of Broadcasting – “We as media people, we like to have cameras in the courtrooms so we can capture it. So we can see what’s going on. The public likes to see it as well. It’s very educational. But there are some drawbacks to it because the presence of the cameras can really effect how people behave in the courtroom.”

The discussion took place in the Garden Lounge at Western’s Malpass Library. It was hosted by the Centennial Honors College and University Libraries.