Freedom of the Press


Ratification of Bill of Rights

Approx. 1791

Sedition Act

Approx. 1798

Criminalized making false statements that were critical of the federal government

Sedition Act Expires


Congress lets act expire, Jefferson pardons all convicted under Sedition Act

First Free Press Case

Approx. 1907

Patterson v. Colorado

Sedition Act Passed Again


Congress passes the Sedition Act, which forbids spoken or printed criticism of the U.S. government, the Constitution or the flag

Near v. Minnestoa

Approx. 1931

Printed statements could be punished after printed but not allowed to be censored before

Roth v. United States

Approx. 1957

Obscenity to be defined by community standards.

New York Times v. Sullivan

Approx. 1964

First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, about the conduct of public officials

Red Lion Broadcasting v. FCC

Approx. 1969

Gave person who was attacked right to respond publicly on the station

New York Times v. United States

Approx. 1971

Pentagon Papers Trial

Branzburg v. Hayes

Approx. 1972

Reporters do not have the right to withhold their sources from the authorities

Gertz v. Robert Welch

Approx. 1974

Severe scrutiny toward everyday citizens deemed unconstitutional.

Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart

Approx. 1976

Freedom of Press should not impede a fair trial.

Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier

Approx. 1988

Schools have the right to censor school sponsored publications.

Cohen v. Cowles Media Company

Approx. 1991

The First Amendment did not bar a promissory estoppel suit against the press

Charlie Hebdo Attack

Approx. January 2015

Terrorist attacks on the satirical, French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.