Do you think that Canadian citizens agree with the statement of one of the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s lead investigators? A Washington Examiner editorial takes the Canadian Human Rights Commision to task and quotes investigator Dean Steacy as saying:

“Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”

in an op-ed piece about a Canadian journalist being fined for what is being called libel. How does the definition of that term differ from its meaning in American courts throughout American history?

The editorial provides evidence for the argument that the freedoms that American citizens hold so dear are not protected in the same way in Canada’s parliamentary democracy as they are in our constitutional republic. Indeed, freedom of speech may be rare around the world. Could an American lawmaker be prosecuted for criticizing a religion? Could a member of PETA be fined for hate speech in America? Could an American citizen who is a member of a minority religion be punished for blasphemy?

In honor of Bill of Rights Day, the federal observance on December 15th, we’ll feature stories dedicated to the freedoms that the Bill of Rights protects. Today is a salute to the First Amendment and the five freedoms that it protects: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition.

In honor of these five freedoms, here are today’s Daily News Headlines:

- Mask-wearing protesters in D.C. can now be arrested: Do you agree with critics of the bill that say the new bill limits First Amendment rights because the regulations are so broad, or do you side with proponents who argue for a need to go beyond existing laws in order to feel secure and safe in their homes?

- WikiLeaks founder could be charged under Espionage Act: This article notes the tension between freedom of the press and the means a journalist may use to acquire the information that is published. Does the Justice Department have a case for a lawsuit? Does a journalist have a right to break the law to get extremely valuable or important protected information?

- Supreme Court to Review Arizona Campaign Finance Law: Political speech, whether through spoken words, written words, or words or images on a t-shirt has a long tradition of receiving the highest degree of protection to ensure continued self-government. But what about the argument that monetary donations in support of candidates are “political speech”?  Are they? Why or why not?

Weigh in on these First Amendment questions in the comments!

Posted in A More Perfect Blog, Daily News Headlines

One Response to “Free Speech: An American Tradition? | Daily News Headlines”

  1. [...] The First Amendment fares particularly poorly; 55 percent of Americans don’t recognize that education is not a First Amendment right, while nearly 1 in 5 mistakenly excludes from the First Amendment one of the five rights it actually does guarantee. (Do you know what those five rights are?) [...]

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