Issue 87, Fall 2002

The State of the First Amendment annual survey, conducted by the First Amendment Center, shows further erosion in support of First Amendment rights. 49% of respondents said that the First Amendment provides too much protection, a 10% increase from last year. The Center’s Executive Director Ken Paulson said that the "stakes have risen for the First Amendment in the wake of September 11. The results of our 2002 survey suggest that many Americans view these fundamental freedoms as possible obstacles in the war on terrorism." Almost half of the respondents think the press seeks information from government officials on terrorism too aggressively and that government should monitor religious groups in the interest of national security. Four in ten respondents would limit academic freedom of professors, bar criticism of government military policy, and give the government greater power to monitor Muslims in the US than other religious groups. To see the full report, visit