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Right to Communicate

John Omachonu


In its modern use, freedom of speech means the freedom of communicating in a variety of formats, including but not limited to the spoken word (→  Freedom of Communication ). The right to communicate may vary from one medium to another, and when scholars and jurists discuss free speech, they focus on a broader freedom to communicate, rather than on the narrow right to speak orally. Therefore, “freedom of speech,” “freedom of expression,” “freedom of the press,” and “freedom of information” are often used interchangeably (even though each is distinctive; →  Freedom of the Press, Concept of ; Freedom of Information ). Freedom of speech, under the US constitution, refers to the right to publish – that is, to write, speak, print, or broadcast information without censorship by the state. Related to this is the freedom of the press, which is understood to mean that any policy regarding what should or should not be printed or broadcast is to be determined solely by the managers of the medium in question. In a key free-press case in the US, Miami Herald v. Tornillo , the US Supreme Court held that: a newspaper is more than a passive receptacle or conduit for news, comment, and advertising. The choice of material to go into a newspaper, and the decisions made as to limitation on the size and content of the paper, and the treatment of public issues and public officials – whether fair or ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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