Timelines
Freedom of the Press

  • 1735
    Truth Is A Defense Against Libel Charge

  • 1787
    Federalist Papers' Publication Starts

  • 1791
    First Amendment Is Ratified

  • 1798
    Alien And Sedition Acts Signed Into Law

  • 1864
    Lincoln Orders Two Newspapers Shut

  • 1907
    Court Refuses To Review Publisher's Conviction

  • 1918
    Sedition Act Of 1918 Punishes Critics Of WWI

  • 1925
    Court: First Amendment Applies To States' Laws

  • 1931
    Prior Restraint Ruled Unconstitutional

  • 1936
    Court: Newspaper Circulation Tax Unconstitutional

  • 1952
    Justices Uphold Group Libel Law

  • 1964
    Court Establishes 'Actual Malice' Standard

  • 1966
    Government Records Made Available To Public

  • 1969
    Justices Uphold FCC's Fairness Doctrine

  • 1971
    Newspapers Win Pentagon Papers Case

  • 1972
    Court: No Reporter's Privilege Before Grand Juries

  • 1974
    Equal Space Law For Candidates Struck Down

  • 1975
    Court Allows Publication Of Sex-Crime Victim's Name

  • 1976
    Justices Say Gag Orders On Press Are Prior Restraint

  • 1977
    Court Allows Publication Of Juvenile's Identity

  • 1978
    Justices Allow Search Warrants For Newsrooms

  • 1979
    Right To Public Trial Is To Protect Defendant
    Court: No Shield On Editorial Process Inquiries
    Court Allows Publication Of Juvenile Offender's Name

  • 1980
    Justices Uphold Right To Attend Criminal Trials

  • 1982
    Court: Press Has Right To Cover All Trials

  • 1983
    Media Access Limited In Grenada, Panama Invasions

  • 1988
    Court Allows Censorship Of School Publications
    Parody Of Public Figures Ruled Constitutional

  • 1990
    Court Decides Opinion Not Always Protected

  • 1991
    Court: Newspapers Can Be Sued For Revealing Source
    Media Coverage Limited In Gulf War

  • 2001
    Disclosure Of Illegally Intercepted Communications Protected