SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

 Freedom of Speech & Spirit of Viewpoints

A Supreme Court case in 1949 in which Justice William O. Douglas wrote the majority opinion: "The function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute.  It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.  Speech is often provocative and challenging.  It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions that have profound unsettling effects as it pressures for the acceptance of an idea."

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Thank you for sharing your views in a respectful and responsible manner.

Note: Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship or limitation, or both. The synonymous term freedom of expression is sometimes used to indicate not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on "hate speech".

The notion of freedom of expression is intimately linked to political debate and the concept of democracy. The norms on limiting freedom of expression mean that public debate may not be completely suppressed even in times of emergency.

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy are generally permitted.

As a general principle freedom of expression may not limit the right to privacy, as well as the honor and reputation of others. However greater latitude is given when criticism of public figures is involved.


In general, an opinion is a subjective belief, and is the result of emotion or interpretation of facts. An opinion may be supported by an argument, although people may draw opposing opinions from the same set of facts. Opinions rarely change without new arguments being presented. However, it can be reasoned that one opinion is better supported by the facts than another by analysing the supporting arguments.

In casual use, the term opinion may be the result of a person's perspective, understanding, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. It may refer to unsubstantiated information, in contrast to knowledge and fact-based beliefs.

Viewpoints - Spirit of the Forum:

Active debate and free speech are encouraged, but remember you are a guest here, and decorum and respectful conduct are not optional but expected.

Viewpoints is intended to be a place where a respectful exchange of ideas and opinions takes place. Sitnews encourages the expression of opinions in a responsible and a civil manner.

Enjoy the debates and discussions and lead by example in creating a civil environment of mutual understanding and learning.

Basic Rules:

1. The author of the message is solely responsible for the contents of his/her comment. Comments expressed by others' opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.

2. First and last name are required and city and state - this means your 'real' name. The editor reserves the right to verify authorship. First name only or anonymous submissions will not be published. Comments determined to be submitted under false names will not be published or will be deleted by the editor. To question the removal of your comment under this rule or to report an abuse, e-mail the editor at

3. Opinions/Comments submitted without an e-mail address and phone contact number will not be published. Contact information is required in order that the editor can contact you if needed for verification or questions. It is not for publication. Your e-mail addresses will only be published if requested.

4. Comments that contain material such as false and defamatory, abusive, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, or illegal language will not be published.

5. Please state your opinion rather than resorting to personal attacks.

6. Be considerate.

7. The Sitnews' editor reserves the right to refuse to publish or to edit any comment that, in the editor's opinion, violates the rules and the spirit of the forum. Free speech rights will be a consideration in this decision.

Thank you for sharing your views in a respectful and responsible manner.

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Important: Once scripted and published, letters/opinions submitted for publication become the property of the SitNews' website. Please do not contact the editor and request letters be deleted 1, 2, 3 years later. This is time consuming and will not remove the letter from the cached files of popular search engines. To delete a letter, you must make the request within the first week of publication.

Sitnews Editor: Mary Kauffman
Stories in the News

First published August 1997

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SitNews ©1997
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska