Censorship Is Key Concern For Student Media
T he Arlington, Va.-based Student Press Law Center reports that requests for help from public high school journalists needing free help on a censorship matter rose more than 41 percent last year.
According to the center, 518 public high school student journalists or their advisers contacted them in 2000 for legal help concerning a censorship issue. That number tops the previous high of 367 recorded during 1999, and marks the sixth straight annual increase. Overall, in 2000 the SPLC staff responded to 2,129 requests from student journalists and their advisers seeking legal help, up 31 percent from the 1,624 calls received the previous year. In addition, the center responded to 462 requests from individuals seeking information only or from news media seeking comment on student press issues.
Questions about censorship topped the list of concerns of those seeking legal help from the SPLC (41 percent), followed by libel and privacy law questions (19 percent), freedom of information issues (16 percent) and copyright law questions (11 percent).
Calls to the Student Press Law Center came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 10 foreign countries. Callers from California (237 calls), New York (184), Pennsylvania (137), Texas (122), Virginia (114), Ohio (103), Illinois (98), Missouri (81), New Jersey (80), Florida, Michigan and Washington state (each with 76) topped the list.
Almost 50 percent of those contacting the SPLC during 2000 did so via e-mail or through its Web site <www.splc.org>, up from the 38 percent who used the Internet to contact the Center during the previous year.
Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been the only national legal assistance agency and information clearinghouse devoted exclusively to protecting and educating the student press about their freedom of expression and freedom of information rights.
The SPLC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All legal services are provided to the student media free of charge.
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