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First Five by the Freedom Forum Institute

The First Amendment protects five core freedoms that are under attack every day — from the left, the right, and everywhere in between. First Five strives to foster interest in First Amendment news and provide a platform for discussion among enthusiasts and activists. Column is available weekly for NNA member newspapers to reprint. 

Meet Georgia, one of 42 unique professionals stepping up for their hometown

The Pelham Examiner is one of a dwindling number of small community newspapers, more than 2,100 of which have disappeared since 2004. But there’s another way this New York publication and its 42 ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Petition is the freedom that gets things done

The freedom to petition is one of our most underrated rights. Freedom Forum Fellow Lata Nott shows why petition is the freedom that gets things done with three underrecognized ways to exercise this right ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Why the least known First Amendment freedom could be the most important (and threatened)

It may be the least known First Amendment freedom, but it could be the most important — and one of the most threatened. See how the right to petition has transformed our nation, why it’s ...

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How Brad Meltzer, best-selling author, fought a book ban

Author Brad Meltzer never imagined two of his children’s books would stir a free speech controversy. But when they did, speech, press, assembly and petition – four of five First Amendment freedoms ...

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FIRST FIVE LIVE: Hear two views on hate speech

What’s more important, protecting free speech or preventing hate speech? Would anti-hate speech laws protect or diminish free speech? What even is hate speech? Read two experts’ takes on these ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Cardi B lyrics on Twitter shouldn’t mean expulsion for pharmacy school student – they’re free speech

What do a Snapchatting high school cheerleader and a Cardi B lyric-tweeting pharmacy school student have in common? Both faced consequences from their schools for their social media posts. First Amendment ...

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For these 5 Americans, the First Amendment is an everyday essential

The Freedom Forum surveyed more than 3,000 people for “The First Amendment: Where America Stands.” We also interviewed dozens of survey participants to get more insight into their thoughts ...

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Four key First Amendment cases to watch this Supreme Court term

The Supreme Court’s October term has begun, and it promises to be an eventful one for First Amendment watchers, writes Freedom Forum fellow David Hudson, highlighting four key cases to watch.

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Four First Amendment ‘where America stands’ findings that surprised experts (and 3 that didn’t)

We asked a wide range of First Amendment advocates and experts what struck them most about our findings in the recently released “Where America Stands” survey of First Amendment knowledge and ...

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Survey says we like our First Amendment rights – whatever they are

How deeply Americans value their First Amendment freedoms — and how divided Americans are on how those freedoms should work in the face of today’s challenges – is our 21st century challenge, ...

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PERSPECTIVE: First Amendment Day is a reminder we get to have a say

Constitution Day, Sept. 17, and First Amendment Day, Sept. 25, are both opportunities to celebrate the beauty and acknowledge the challenges of democracy. Above all, they remind us that we get to have ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Restricting speech in the name of safety, from panic to pandemic

Enacted just weeks after Sept. 11, the USA PATRIOT Act restricted civil liberties more than most agreed was necessary to protect national security. The act expired in 2020, just as a new threat, COVID-19, ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Protect assembly and petition by preserving listening at public meetings

Many public meetings are becoming so contentious – even violent – that they push the boundaries of the First Amendment’s right “peaceably to assemble,” says Gene Policinski, ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Some First Amendment back-to-school advice

How can public school students express themselves in school this year? And what can parents or administrators do if they don’t like that expression? Here’s what students, administrators and ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Can the First Amendment protect educators from being fired for teaching about race?

A trend across the country has legislatures and education departments in more than 25 states working to ban some discussions of race in schools. Special correspondent Tony Mauro looks into why teachers ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Public schools need constitutional and religious literacy

As students head back to school, teachers and coaches have a First Amendment responsibility to model religious literacy, writes David Callaway, showing what happens when religious literacy is missing from ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Protect voting like we protect free speech

Voting is a fundamental expression of views, but courts are more likely to OK restrictions on voting than on other forms of expression, says Lata Nott, who argues that voting should be protected as vigorously ...

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PERSPECTIVE: 5 US Olympic athletes who flexed their first amendment muscles

Athletes throughout history have used their fame to shine spotlights on injustice or stand up for their beliefs. Ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, remember these U.S. Olympic athletes, featured in the ...

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Perspective: Supreme Court sides with First Amendment Freedoms, but questions linger

Significant First Amendment cases involving religion, student speech, assembly and press rights were at the top of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the just-finished 2020-21 term. In several key cases, ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Assaults on local reporters are a slap in the face of our right to know

Local news is under attack — literally — as physical assaults on local journalists spike. Karen Hansen shares how this is part of a troubling trend that threatens all our freedoms.

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