When some hear of the First Amendment, they normally only think of it in terms of one’s personal right to “freedom of speech,” but the First Amendment encompasses much more than the personal protection to free speech. This amendment also grants a protection to freedom of the press. There are some that argue that both of these phrases are synonymous and can be used interchangeably. Then, there are others that feel that the framers of the Constitution meant for them to be equal yet separate by giving the press more protection or a different kind of protection. Regardless of whose view you side with, it cannot be argued against that freedom of the press is constantly evolving. How much has it evolved over the years? In what direction is it going? How much and what influence have the happenings in the United States have on the global stage? What meaning does freedom of the press hold when information is disseminated globally and is accessable by foreign outlets?
Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-open: A Free Press for a New Century by Lee C. Bollinger seeks to answer these questions and more. Bollinger is considered an expert in the area of First Amendment law. Apart of Oxford’s Inalienable Rights series, this title is a timely discussion that forces readers to look at where freedom of the press stands on a more global stage in this current age of internet ready technology. It takes a past, present, and future look at freedom of the press. The title will be a successful addition to the collection of any law school library. Its presentation is not meant to be used as a study aid of First Amendment law, but as a thought discussion of free press.
Bollinger divides his discussion into four easy to read and follow chapters. The first two chapters are focused on exploring the past of how the United States Supreme Court has handled issues presented to it concerning freedom of the press. Chapter one is used to lay the foundation by leading readers through a series of important United States Supreme Court cases. Chapter two continues to build upon the foundation laid in chapter one. Here, the discussion of the past goes deeper into the court decisions that assisted in shaping the present status relating to freedom of the press. Reviewing the court cases shows where the Justices have disagreed and provide detail discussion behind their opinions.
With chapter three, the examination looked to where free press currently stands. Here the author seeks to give readers an understanding of issues surrounding present day freedom of the press topics. This chapter helps the reader to gain a clearer picture of freedom of the press as a lead way into the discussion of what should happen to deal with new challenges that may be presented as the times continue to change.
In chapter four, the author takes readers into what he sees as the future of freedom of the press. Bollinger presents ideas that he hopes will play a role in how the press is seen in society. Within this chapter, he argues that the world stage should take note of the happenings and doings of the United States from the twentieth century. Bollinger feels that as society continues the critical charge of protecting freedom of the press within the United States, it should take steps to formulating a global free press platform.
In conclusion, Bollinger’s title gives readers a great starting point and road map of free press. It was an easy read. The information provided lead the reader to each new idea clearly. The background and issues were well researched and logically presented.
Tiffany R. Paige, Acquisitions Librarian, Mississippi College School of Law