High School Students Don’t Believe in Freedom of Press?

By | March 24, 2005

According to a just-released major survey of American high school students:

* Only a bare majority, 51 percent, say the press should be able to publish freely.

* 36 percent of U.S. high school students believe newspapers should get “government approval” of stories before publishing;

* 17 percent disagree with even this modest statement: “People should be allowed to express unpopular opinions.”

These and more shocking results are from a just-released survey of 112,003 high school students across America. The survey was commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and conducted last spring by the University of Connecticut.

Hodding Carter, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which sponsored the survey, said “these results are not only disturbing, they are dangerous… Ignorance about the basis of this free society is a danger to our nation’s future.”

Ominously, the results of this survey closely match the feelings of adults towards the First Amendment found in other surveys in recent years.

(Sources: Future of the First Amendment web site:
Future of the First Amendment press release:
http://firstamendment.jideas.org/professionals/news_release.php )

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