1964 December 26

Philadelphia Bar to Vote on Crime News Censorship Proposal


The Philadelphia Bar Association, it was announced on this day, was planning to vote on a proposed set of guidelines for restricting the release and publication of crime news. If adopted, the bar association would ask the state Supreme Court to adopt the guidelines. Advocates argued that the guidelines would protect the rights of criminal defendants to receive a fair trial. Even the Philadelphia chapter of the ACLU endorsed the guidelines, arguing that the press should not report the criminal record of the accused or the existence of alleged confessions. Additionally, the ACLU chapter argued that defendants should not be subject to press photography or interviews with the news media.

By contemporary standards, it is astonishing that both the bar association and the ACLU chapter would approve restrictions on media coverage of news events. In Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, on June 30, 1976, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional similar restrictions of a criminal case as a form of prior restraint.

Learn more about freedom of the press: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/category/press

Learn more about the landmark 1931 on freedom of the press: Fred W. Friendly, Minnesota Rag (1981)

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