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First Five by the Freedom Forum Institute

The First Amendment protects five core freedoms that are under attack every day — from the left, the right, and everywhere in between. First Five strives to foster interest in First Amendment news and provide a platform for discussion among enthusiasts and activists. Column is available weekly for NNA member newspapers to reprint. 

PERSPECTIVE: 5 US Olympic athletes who flexed their first amendment muscles

Athletes throughout history have used their fame to shine spotlights on injustice or stand up for their beliefs. Ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, remember these U.S. Olympic athletes, featured in the ...

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Perspective: Supreme Court sides with First Amendment Freedoms, but questions linger

Significant First Amendment cases involving religion, student speech, assembly and press rights were at the top of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the just-finished 2020-21 term. In several key cases, ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Assaults on local reporters are a slap in the face of our right to know

Local news is under attack — literally — as physical assaults on local journalists spike. Karen Hansen shares how this is part of a troubling trend that threatens all our freedoms.

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PERSPECTIVE: Students, parents and free speech win in cheerleading case

The case involved the suspension of Brandi Levy when she was a freshman at Mahanoy Area High School in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. Upset in part at not making the varsity cheerleading squad, Levy posted ...

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PERSPECTIVE: Supreme Court case goes beyond LGBTQ+ versus Catholic rights

A new, unanimous Supreme Court decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the case of a Catholic foster care agency losing its contract with Philadelphia after saying it would not certify LGBTQ+ couples ...

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Free spirits answer Al Neuharth’s call to ‘Dream, Dare, Do’

It’s the motto of the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, an annual program that each June brings top high school journalists from across the United States together for a week ...

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Perspective: Is the Supreme Court Still a Defender of Press Freedom?

A new study of the Supreme Court’s depictions of the press, plus recent comments by current justices and federal judges, Tony Mauro writes, shows the judiciary may be increasingly skeptical of press ...

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Perspective: Amid AIDS crisis, LGBTQ press won key First Amendment battle

LGBTQ press has always had to fight for the right to publish. To kick off Pride Month this week, guest columnist Mark Segal shares how he took that fight all the way to the Supreme Court to save not only ...

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PERSPECTIVE: News outlets need caution in offering a ‘fresh start’

Gene Policinski looks at the policies of a growing number of news outlets offering to essentially “unpublish” identifying information, news reports or photos from digital news archives – ...

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Perspective: Tide may be turning toward religious exemptions from vaccine mandates

Courts seem increasingly reluctant to enforce government mandates when faced with religious objections.

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Perspective: Sikh Americans defend religious freedom for all

David Callaway shares two stories of Sikh Americans who used their First Amendment rights as a shield for the religious freedom of all Americans. Read the column. A plain text version is available for ...

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Perspective: Student athletes have a right to peaceful protest

Freedom Forum First Amendment Fellow David Hudson Jr. explains why a group of Tennessee state senators were out of bounds in objecting to East Tennessee State University basketball players taking a knee ...

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Perspective: Celebrating World Press – and our – Freedom Day

Gene Policinski explains why even press critics should celebrate World Press Freedom Day.

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PERSPECTIVE: Cancel culture can chill free speech; it’s also free speech in action

Freedom Forum fellow for First Amendment, discusses cancel culture in this month’s edition of First Five Express.

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Free Expression Awards: How nine honorees used their First Amendment powers

In advance of the Freedom Forum’s 2021 Free Expression Awards on April 15, Patty Rhule describes how the nine honorees sparked change through free and fearless expression and asks us to consider ...

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Celebrating spring’s religious holidays and the First Amendment

As religious communities prepare to celebrate major holidays, Benjamin P. Marcus describes in a video and column how the First Amendment can be used to help people of all religions and none feel like equal ...

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First Amendment tablet finds new home in Philadelphia

The Freedom Forum has donated the 74-foot-tall First Amendment tablet, etched with the 45 words of the First Amendment that once fronted the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, to the National Constitution ...

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You can’t have democracy without a free press

Despite its flaws, an independent news media that holds government accountable for its actions is essential to ensuring democracy works, writes Gene Policinski.

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Faith and belief accommodation at work: more than the right thing to do

Global data tracking religious affiliation shows a similar trend toward religiosity. The Pew Research Center calculates that religious affiliation in the world will grow to 84% by 2050. This has major ...

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Pastors, politics and power: The struggle for equality for Black Americans

David Callaway looks at the recent election of Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock to discuss how religious freedom empowers Black Americans when access to other freedoms has been limited or denied.

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