Why a Free Press is Vital to Democracy

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki


Image by Ted Mielczarek https://www.flickr.com/photos/49243838@N00/7688094718 Licensed: CC BY 2.0

When children hear their president referring to the media as “the enemy,” it’s time for a civics lesson in the important function of the press in a democratic society.

Freedom of expression is crucial for a successful democracy because it lets the public participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.

Curriki offers resources for teaching this very timely and important concept. Here are just a few:

  • Constitution – Bill of Rights – First Amendment — The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights, and the very first one guarantees freedom of religion and expression – which includes free press. Curriki provides a lesson with several interesting videos.
  • From PBS, watch Freedom of the Press: Crash Course Government and Politics #26. The video very accessibly teaches that like an individual’s right to free speech, the press has a right, and arguably responsibility, to tell the public what the government is doing. The government cannot obstruct or censor the press, because, as one judge ruled, “A free press is essential for a political system to work.”


Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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