The Constitution’s framers intentionally provided the press with broad freedom, believing it necessary to the establishment of a strong, independent (if unofficial) “fourth branch” of the government.

At the end of each month, IWPA’s First Amendment network offers a roundup of free speech discussions trending in the media. Have you read about, or experienced an issue impacting First Amendment rights? Email with your tip.

  1. Rap Case Presents Difficult First Amendment Issues

Remember Tipper Gore’s early 1990s public crusade against the youth-corrupting influence of “gangsta rap”? In 2016, experts are taking a new look at rap music’s power to inspire and educate. Click the link above from Texas Lawyer to learn more about why:

“Research reveals rap’s exceptional power as a tool to engage middle and high school students in their studies. This research suggests that schools should be embracing rap as a teaching tool, not penalizing it. In short, rap has a bad rap.”

  1. Nike Parts Ways With Manny Pacquiao Over “Abhorrent” Anti-Gay Comments

Manny Pacquiao is the second highest paid athlete in the world, but Nike chose integrity over profits after Pacquiao said that same sex couples are “worse than animals.” The double-edged sword of freedom of speech is that there can be consequences for that exercised freedom. The First Amendment is not a green light to generate hate. Nike has a long standing reputation of supporting the LGBT community:

“Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community. We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.”

  1. Trump Threatens to Weaken First Amendment Protections for Reporters

Donald Trump has not been quiet about his distaste for the media coverage of his campaign. His bravado seems to strengthen with every primary or caucus win along the trail, and now he says he plans to make it easier to sue the media by opening up libel laws if he becomes President. First Amendment advocates are condemning his statements:

“I’ve never heard of politicians saying they would repeal case law established under the First Amendment. You’d really need a constitutional amendment to do that.”