From the Sept. 22 issue of Editor & Publisher:
An alarming new study shows that although just over 90 percent of respondents across the country believe the government should not be able to tell people what views they may or may not express, only 65 percent of those respondents believe the freedom of expression under the U.S. Constitution should include newspapers.
The survey, commissioned by Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Va., asked 1,500 adults across the country their views of freedom of speech and censorship in the arts and media.
Just over 60 percent of respondents said they believe government has any power of censorship. National security was seen as a cause by 7.1 percent of respondents who believe government has the power of censorship, while 7 percent said music, movies, TV, books, newspapers and radio fell into that category.
When asked if government should have any power of censorship, 57.8 percent of respondents said yes, and, of them, 7.6 percent said it should include TV, newspapers, radio, books, magazines and records.
When asked to rate the importance of speaking one's mind and expressing opinions without fear of arrest or interference, 87.3 percent of repsondents said it was very important, 9.9 percent said somewhat important, 1.3 percent said not important and 1.6 percent did not know or had no opinion.
When it came to the right of the press to print any information it might uncover, however, only 58.6 percent of repondents said it was very important, 29.5 percent said somewhat important, 9.1 percent said not important and 2.9 percent said they did not know or had no opinion.