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The first thing dictators do when they grab power is shut down the media.
Freedom of the Press is at the very heart of a democracy.
"Press" is an old-fashioned word used back when printing presses were the only mass media around.
Our TV, radio, newspapers and websites are not controlled by the government. In fact, one huge part of the media's job is to uncover and report stuff public officials would rather you didn't hear about.
The government can't force media to publish certain stories or punish them for negative coverage, even if it turns out to be false.
People working inside government sometimes leak real secrets to the media. They're called "whistleblowers" and Congress has passed laws to protect them. Sometimes government officials purposely leak bogus info to "spin" the news. Business and private groups do it all the time. Propaganda has a bad name but has always been a part of our free society.
There are limits to the Freedom of the Press.
One is that reporters can be forced to reveal their sources when certain crimes are involved.
And then there's that whole public decency thing. Remember the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl? Had to be the most TiVoed second in broadcast history!
When you hear a word bleeped, it's probably one of the 7 words broadcasters canāt air without getting hit with huge fines:
If you know them all, you may have a future as a stand-up comic.
who are not elected