Free Speech and Censorship

Examining the Facts

by H. L. Pohlman


People who heckle political candidates and other public speakers in ways that disrupt the event have no "free speech" right to do so.

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May 2019


Pages 214
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Current Events and Issues/Law and Crime
  Politics, Law, and Government/Human Rights and Civil Liberties

This book provides a comprehensive and impartial overview of laws and norms regarding free speech and censorship in the United States, with a particular focus on free speech rights and restrictions for individuals, politicians, corporations, and news organizations.

Free Speech and Censorship: Examining the Facts is part of a series that uses evidence-based documentation to examine the veracity of claims and beliefs about high-profile issues in American culture and politics. This volume examines beliefs, claims, and myths about free speech and censorship issues in American society, including landmark court decisions and evolving cultural values that have shaped our understanding of the First Amendment and the liberties it enshrines and protects.

Specific chapters in the volume explore basic principles of free speech; unprotected types of speech; conditionally protected speech; restrictions and regulations governing protected speech; free speech limitations in school settings; the corrosive impact of politicians and social media platforms that spread distortions and falsehoods under free speech pretexts; and free speech as a general cultural ideal. Together, these chapters will provide readers with a thorough and accurate grounding in their First Amendment rights and responsibilities.


  • Features an easy-to-navigate question-and-answer format
  • Accessibly explains key court decisions governing the parameters of free speech rights and government censorship in the United States
  • Uses quantifiable data from respected sources as the foundation for examining every issue
  • Provides readers with leads to conduct further research in Further Reading sections
  • Examines claims made by individuals and groups of all political backgrounds and ideologies
Series Description

Contemporary Debates

Each title in the Contemporary Debates series examines the veracity of controversial claims or beliefs surrounding a major political/cultural issue in the United States. The purpose of the series is to give readers a clear and unbiased understanding of current issues by informing them about falsehoods, half-truths, and misconceptions—and confirming the factual validity of other assertions—that have gained traction in America's political and cultural discourse. Ultimately, this series gives readers the tools for a fuller understanding of controversial issues, policies, and laws that occupy center stage in American life and politics.
Author Info

H. L. Pohlman is professor of political science at Dickinson College and director of the school's Law and Public Service program. He received his PhD from Columbia in 1982. Professor Pohlman's teaching interests include American constitutional law, other law-related courses, and political and legal philosophy. His published works include Terrorism and the Constitution: The Post-9/11 Cases, May It Amuse the Court: Editorial Cartoons of the Supreme Court and Constitution (with Michael A. Kahn), and titles on such subjects as civil rights and liberties, the justice system, and governmental authority.

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