A First Amendment Threat from Abroad

By Kirtley, Jane | American Journalism Review, December 1997 | Go to article overview

A First Amendment Threat from Abroad


Kirtley, Jane, American Journalism Review


The U.S. will come under pressure from Europe to restrict the collection and distribution of personal data.

When law partners Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis first came up with the "right to be left alone" in 1890, American journalists feared that the right of privacy would threaten their ability to gather and disseminate truthful, accurate information about individuals who object to media scrutiny.

As it turned out, journalists, not their news subjects, held the trump card. Whenever the right to speak or publish was threatened, they brandished the First Amendment and, as often as not, newsworthiness and free speech prevailed.

That's not the case outside the United States, as European initiatives to impose restraints on journalists in the wake of Princess Diana's death--far more serious than similar efforts in this country--have shown. But paparazzi-bashing is just one symptom of the fundamental differences between European and American attitudes toward free speech that lurk beneath the surface.

The First Amendment's unconditional prohibitions on government constraints on speech have no counterpart in European law. There, everything is relative. A case in point is the 1950 European Human Rights Convention.

The convention might best be described as Europe's primary statement on human rights law. It is the template from which the European Court of Human Rights crafts its rulings, which are binding on all member states.

Article 10 recognizes a right to freedom of expression, but unlike the First Amendment, the right is subject to "necessary" conditions or restrictions to protect national security, public morals and the rights and reputations of others, and to prevent crime, disorder or disclosure of confidential information. Free expression is just one "fundamental right" among many, and member states are encouraged to pass laws that restrain speech in order to advance other "fundamental rights"--like privacy, recognized in Article 8.

In that spirit, the European Union in 1995 issued its Directive on Data Protection to address privacy concerns raised by the use of computers for storing and transmitting data. The directive governs the collection and dissemination of "personal" data not only within Europe, but the transfer of data to countries outside the European Union as well. Nations failing to provide "adequate" data protection after October 1998 will not be allowed to exchange information with their European counterparts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A First Amendment Threat from Abroad
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.