Fear factor affects American view of First Amendment.

On September 20, 2001 President George Bush said, "Freedom and fear are at war."

According to an annual survey, "State of the First Amendment" released Aug. 29, 2002 by the the First Amendment Center, the freedoms within the First Amendment are still under fire, only this time in the eyes of Americans.

Nearly 49 percent of the 1,000 respondents said the First Amendment gives Americans too much freedom, an increase from 39 percent last year and 22 percent in 2000, as reported on Freedom Forum's Web site.

According to Ball State alumna Gene Policinski, deputy director of the First Amendment Center and executive producer of "Speaking Freely," the numbers of First Amendment critics have consistently risen in past years, but said he feels Sept. 11 had a large impact on this year's results.

"Clearly there is a fear factor now that is involved in the responses," Policinski said. "We see that in the jump of numbers. One in two Americans say the First Amendment goes too far. The only real factor in the last 12 months was Sept. 11."

Policinski did point out that the age group least willing to sacrifice the rights of the First Amendment was that of college-age students 18-30 years old.

"People who are younger are not so jaded," he said. "They are traditionally more open-minded and less willing to see rights taken away. Individual freedom is newer to younger people, so perhaps younger people hold them more dear."

Two constitutional rights under considerable scrutiny are the freedom of press and religion.

According to the survey, 42 percent of the respondents said "the press in America has too much freedom to do what it wants" - taking freedom of the press the least popular First Amendment right.

With last year's attacks on


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