Thursday, February 09, 2006

In the wake of the Riotous Cartoons, keep in mind...

Talk is cheap. Free speech isn't.

As a journalist, I was taught much about First Amendment freedom, although I could have been taught more about ethics in journalism. But even I know that there are certain limits that must be placed on information that is published and broadcasted.

When I worked at our local paper putting engagement, wedding, birth, and anniversary announcements, among others in the Sunday paper, there were times when I had to have serious talks with those who had written their own announcements, because they had written something that we could not publish. (An example was information about family feuds.)

I know that other countries have different laws than we have in the U.S., and that poking fun at the decisions foreign leaders make can be very funny. I mean, geesh! We make fun of our own government all the time! But poking fun of those who have already terrorized and killed thousands of people might not be a good idea.

All I'm saying is this: Think before you publish. Free speech isn't always as free as you think.

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