Friday, October 29, 2010

Censorship Week: The Gray Area

Is there a gray area when it comes to free speech, or is it absolute? When is hate speech okay to moderate and when is it simply intolerance to censor? When is information not necessarily meant to be free for all, and when do people have a right to know?

I don't claim expertise for anyone's ethical position. But it seems there are often gray areas.

There certainly are instances when the first amendment does not apply. A journalist can surely write an article using fake names to protect plaintiffs' identities in a sensitive court case. I'm pretty sure it's been done before. Putting women's safety at risk is not necessary.

Was NPR in the right to fire Juan Williams? They claim his dual role at NPR and at Fox were finally incompatible. Not so fair and balanced in reporting, perhaps, but clearly that's not a norm at every news source.

I like the first amendment, but like for most things in life, moderation is key.

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