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Zachary NavitAsks, Do Americans Really Appreciate the First Amendment?

Law school student and First Amendment researcher Zachary Navitexamines trends that indicate that many citizens of the United States are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the First Amendment and the extent of freedoms guaranteed beneath it.
 
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    PHILADELPHIA, PA, September 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Law student Zachary Navit began working toward his legal degree in the first place out of an admiration of the First Amendment and a desire to help people uphold the freedoms that it guarantees. What these freedoms entail and the extent to which they are guaranteed, however, is a matter of contention amongst many Americans, a recent news article from the News-Gazette reports.

According to the article, a recent study by the First Amendment Center of Washington, D.C.'s Newseum Institute has found that a growing number of United States citizens are unappreciative of the principles of free expression that the Amendment supports. As the study reports, 34 percent of the 1,000+ Americans surveyed say that the First Amendment goes too far in guaranteeing free rights. This is a massive increase compared to only 13 percent of Americans who stated the same belief in the previous year's study.

Additionally, the percentage of citizens who think the First Amendment goes too far jumps up to 47 percent amongst young adults between the ages of 18 and 30, the study reports. The article finds this trend shocking, as young adults are traditionally expected to be more open minded to free expression.

According to the survey, much of this animosity against the First Amendment can be blamed on a disillusionment of the media, particularly popular news sources. A massive 54 percent of survey participants reported a belief that the news media does not even try to report unbiased news anymore. This irresponsibility with free expression, says the article, leads many to believe that limiting said freedom of expression is the only solution to free speech exploitation.

Others disagree. "The problem is not that the First Amendment guarantees too many freedoms to American citizens," states law student Zachary Navit. "It's that some people use these rights to deceive, offend, or incite others. This is unfortunate, but the alternative - suppression of individual freedoms all around - is much less desirable."

Instead, says Navit, unbiased or unfair speech in the media should be met with reasoned speech, and more of it, from those who object to it. "One guiding principle of the First Amendment," says Navit, "is the belief that free and widespread discussion eventually leads to rational and reasoned decision making."

Because of this, says Zachary Navit, those who are disillusioned by the abuse of free speech in media can better combat it by adding their own voices rather than silencing those of others.

ABOUT:

Law school student Zachary Navit is currently working on earning his Juris Doctor degree from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America. Here he specializes in studying the First Amendment and all of the personal freedoms that it guarantees to American citizens. Navit is currently working as a law clerk intern with state courts in Philadelphia, PA, where he drafts and edits Memoranda in addition to performing legal research. He also does pro bono volunteer work for the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Navit plans to graduate in 2015 and afterwards go into business helping citizens who are struggling with their First Amendment rights.



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