Censorship, Freedom of the Press, Karl Marx and The Catholic Church

This paper examines the relationship between the First Amendment right and the concepts of “Freedom of the Press” and “Censorship”.

This paper takes a look at what is protected by the First Amendment. It also looks at how the courts have ruled in a number of important cases. The paper identifies Congressional opinion and actions. It then takes a philosophical look at the issue. Karl Marx wrote extensively on Freedom of the Press and it looks at his position on the issue. His viewpoint is then contrasted with that of the Roman Catholic Church on these issues, through a study of how censorship has been applied throughout the Church’s history.
The freedom of religion, speech, and of the press, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, are basic rights enjoyed by American citizens, however the precise definitions and limitations are vague. Various challenges and court rulings have extended the definition of speech to include verbal communication as well as non-verbal communication, such as artistic or physical expression, and symbolic gesture. As the courts have broadened the definitions and protections under the freedom of speech, so have they imposed limitations or exclusions, such as defamation, obscenity, sedition, causing panic, incitement to crime and fighting words.
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