ERIC Number: ED218629
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
The Cost of Prior Restraint: "U. S. v. The Progressive."
Soloski, John; Dyer, Carolyn Stewart
Increased litigation and rising litigation costs threaten the future of newspapers and magazines. A case study was conducted to determine the costs and effects of "United States v. 'The Progressive,'" a prior restraint case over the publication in 1979 of an article on the hydrogen bomb. "The Progressive," which operates at a deficit, spent almost a quarter of a million dollars defending itself. Costs of time and staff energy were even greater, threatening the continuation of the magazine. Although a First Amendment case, few in the media came to the aid of "The Progressive." Neither did circulation increase as much as in a normal year. Although libel and First Amendment insurance have been introduced recently, there is serious doubt whether small publications could afford such coverage, or even whether an insurance company would accept a controversial publication as a client. Civil liberties and professional organizations cannot do much more than assist in a few major cases, as they did in that of "The Progressive," providing "pro bono" work and filing "amicus" briefs. Such a state of affairs may result in newspapers and magazines too timid to risk publishing controversial material. A system of financing media litigation is needed to protect publications. (JL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: First Amendment; Progressive (The); United States v The Progressive
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (65th, Athens, OH, July 25-28, 1982). Original document marginally legible.