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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    First Amendment ‘most abused of the first 10 amendments’

    In Mr. Tom Gelsinon’s Mailbag comments (“”Free press doesn’t mean an unbiased press,”” yesterday), he stated that free press means “”the right to say all sorts of unfair, biased, partial and disrespectful things.”” I agree on the part of the “”right,”” but certainly have a different understanding and appreciation of the term “”free.”” In my opinion this is the most abused of the first 10 amendments. As with all freedoms, it comes with responsibility. Certain forms of speech and press such as hate speech and speech inciting violence towards others are not protected. When FACTS are deliberately distorted or manipulated in such a way that negative opinions are formed or bad feelings are generated toward certain group of people, this kind of practice must not be tolerated or protected. Although it is difficult to quantify the negative impacts caused by such so-called “”free press,”” its difference from words inciting hatred and violence is subtle.

    Mr. Gelsinon also said, “”It’s not a perfect system, and a lot of very bad stuff gets published, but it’s superior to a system where a person can write a fair and respectful opinion and still face the threat of incarceration, exile or worse because a party censor or other government bureaucrat took offence.”” I have issues with this kind of argument or logic. No free press being bad does not make “”unfair, biased, partial and disrespectful”” press “”superior.”” Being free to report is a privilege, but do not forget the fundamental respect for humanity and the morality one should have, as a citizen and not just as a journalist, when the writing could have a significant impact on the public. This is my understanding of free press.

    Zhiping Zheng
    associate professor of chemistry

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