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Babel

The arguments against freedom of the press are becoming more popular and persuasive

By John Lloyd   April 1996

A growing circle of the articulate and powerful no longer think that freedom of the press is worth supporting unequivocally. Those who do unequivocally support it are often professional journalists; they are seen -above all by themselves-as cynical and irresponsible. Here are the main arguments now being deployed for why the media should not be, or is not, free.

The media trample on others’ sensibilities. This is the largest objection. It comes in a myriad of forms from every political direction-and none. It encompasses pornography on the internet, blasphemy, and incitement to racial hatred. Unlike other arguments, it has a…

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