University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor RonNell Andersen Jones published an op-ed in The New York Times on Jan. 25 with colleague Sonja R. West, a law professor at the University of Georgia.
In their commentary, “Don’t Expect the First Amendment to Protect the Media,” the professors explore President Donald Trump’s recent treatment of the press —and the how First Amendment protections may play out for journalists.
“The First Amendment provides only limited protection for the press. Over the centuries, courts have affirmed that it prohibits government censorship and offers some protection against defamation lawsuits. But journalists themselves have few constitutional rights when it comes to matters such as access to government sources and documents, or protection from being hounded by those in power for their news gathering and reporting. In those respects, journalists are vulnerable to the whims of society and government officials,” Andersen Jones and West wrote.
“America’s press freedom, in other words, is something of a mishmash. There are some legal protections, but the press also relies on nonlegal safeguards. In the past, these have included the institutional media’s relative financial strength; the good will of the public; a mutually dependent relationship with government. However, each of these pillars has recently been shaken.”
Andersen Jones also recently appeared on KUTV and, The Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM Progress Radio to discuss similar issues.