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Freedom Of Speech

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Free Speech and the Goverment

Freedom of speech is protected in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights and is guaranteed to all Americans. "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." (Cornell Law) These words were inscribed in our Constitution in 1776 by our founding fathers. The Constitution was written in time when the radio, flag desecration or even rallies by hate groups run rampant as in today's society.

The Bills Of Rights are amendments to the Constitution which were added in 1791. Since the Bill Of Rights there have been over 200 additional changes to the amendments. For example, the Flag Desecration Amendment, often referred to as the flag burning amendment, is a controversially proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow the United States Congress to legally ban the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. However, the concept of flag desecration continues to provoke a heated debate over protecting a national symbol and protecting free speech. Moreover, while the proposed amendment is most frequently referred to the wording in terms of flag burning, the language would permit the prohibition of all forms of flag desecration, which may take forms other than burning, such as uses for clothing or napkins. The most recent attempt to adopt a flag desecration amendment failed in the United States Senate by one vote on June 27, 2006. The flag descration is an aspect

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which has been brought to the forefront of the government, however, freedom of speech on radio stations has yet to be debated.

Radio stations that offer hate programs are a developing area of the law. Although, no court has answered this question yet, it seems likely that the answer would turn on whether the public radio station is found to be part of the government. For instance, at least one court already has found, in a different context, which a public radio station is not a government actor. On one hand, should a public radio broadcaster, such as National Public Radio, is found not to be part of the government, it is not bound by the First Amendment's prohibition against discriminating against a group because of the content of its speech. On the other hand, should a public radio station be found to be part of the government, so it is unlikely that it could refuse to allow an extremist group, such as the Ku Klux Klan, to sponsor a program. Yet, such a decision would constitute impermissible discrimination based on content that the radio station conceivably could refuse to accept all political advertising. Furthermore, the radio station could not refuse the extremist group while allowing an anti-racist group to sponsor a show.

The government may not prohibit extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan from expressing their hateful views in public march rallies. This is illustrated through the First Amendment to the



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