The First Amendment

Hubert Humphrey Fellows from Pakistan, Mongolia and Croatia discussed the state of press freedom in their respective countries in today’s must see Monday. Cronkite School Associate professor, Joe Russomanno, moderated the session titled Freedom of Speech: Global Perspectives. This special program was organized in the wake of National Freedom of Speech Week.

The 1st amendment in the United States Constitution,guarantees every citizen’s right to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembling and petitioning the government. The amendment says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The kidnapping of Pakistani investigative journalist Umar Cheema echoed during the discussion when the vulnerable condition of the journalists in Pakistan was brought under discussion. ” A lot of journalists in Pakistan have been killed an others have faced severe torture and harassment but they preferred to stay silent in order to avoid further trouble,” said a Peshawar-based Pakistani journalist, Javed Afraidi, ” Umar Cheema is, however, a brave journalist who decided to let the world know about his ordeal.”

Surely, America has traveled a long way to ensure these basic freedoms. Credit for this great achievement goes to American’s uninterrupted and uninterpretable democracy.

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