The Instigator
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The Contender
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Respect for "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" in Media Commenting should be mandatory

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/13/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,457 times Debate No: 33638
Debate Rounds (3)
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This will take an amendment to make an exception to free speech and free press but it is worth it to protect the right to a fair trial and innocent until proven guilty.

We see it everywhere. When someone is arrested and charged with a crime everyone comments on it as if they know for a fact the person is guilty.

This is creating a "guilty until proven innocent" ethos in America that threatens our constitutional rights, that puts everyone at risk.

There should be a limit to free speech here. Newspapers online or otherwise should be required to strike comments that just assume the person is guilty. Comments that talk strictly about the evidence but which disclaim that we must give the person their day in court should be allowed.

It is already a problem that suspects get "tried in the media" and that can taint juries.

People who make comments as though they know for certain a suspect is guilty before the suspect has been given their day in court are disgusting and should move out of this country! If you don't like the Constitution, get out!


(here is my best effort to be respectful)

I accept my opponent's challenge and will advocate for the stance that the media should not be required to respect "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" if they choose not to.

To begin with, I'd like to point out a problem with my opponent's initial premise, being the press's diction is creating an assumption of guilt in a place where it may not be the case, thus violating "Innocent Until Proven Guilty".

Ladies and Gents, this is probably the definition of a false application. Nowhere in the ammendment does it talk about anything slightly relating to the press. What the entire purpose of "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" is to put a restraint on prosecuters so they can't fallaciously say "Well prove that you DIDN'T kill this guy!" when the onus is on them to prove that the defendent did. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with what the press does.

Secondly, there's no taint being created by the media which influences the jururs. Never has there been a case when a jurur was asked why they decided the way they did did they respond with "Oh, MSNBC was saying they were guilty, so we went with them on this one". In fact, that's the entire purpose of random selection of jururs; to remove possible bias like that.

With that, we can see that the media isn't actually violating that specific ammendment. Thus, there isn't any reason to control what they are allowed to say in pertaining to court cases, which means the resolution is negated.

But, just to use the rest of my 6.5k characters, let's assume (falsely), that they ARE doing something to mess with that ammendment. There is a massive problem with allowing the government to censor what the press says which ultimately comes down to one word: accountability.

Let's begin at the beginning, though. The media is one of the most important, if not the most important, tool for a democracy to actually be democratic. The free flow of information from person to person allows for an educated populace, as well as an informed populace. This prevents certain things like the government trying to cover up something they messed up on because the media will keep the public informed and we'll know that they're lying.

But what happens when the government is allowed to dictate what the press is allowed to say and not say? This allows the government to control what information reaches the public and what information doesn't reach the public. This leads to de facto totalitarianism, which would lead to a violation of most to all of our Constitutional rights, which is something I doubt my opponent wants to happen.

"BUT ZARADI! WE'RE ONLY ASKING THEM TO BE MORE UNBIASED IN COURT CASE STUFF! WE'RE NOT GONNA GO TO THAT!" I can already hear my opponent crying out in vain. Alas, there are two problems with this reply:

Firstly, controlling what the media is allowed to say in cases of court trials allows them to sway the media toward one side or another. Any sort of change in diction still has the ability to persuade others toward one side or another, meaning there would still be the possibility of an infringement of the "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" right.

and Secondly, any restriction of information flow would ultimately lead to totalitarianism, even if the change is not immediate. This is because restricting information in this place acts as a gateway to make justifying other restrictions on information that much easier to make. The more information the government has censored, the easier it is for them to censor something else as well. This leads to totalitarianism, which is the worst impact in the round.

So, to summarize my points:

1) The media isn't doing what my opponent says they are doing, so there's no reason to restrict what they say.
2) Even if they were doing what my opponent says, restricting what they say leads to totalitarianism, which violate far more rights than allowing the media to falsely persuade others does, which means we shouldn't restrict what they say.

With that, I'll turn the floor over to my opponent and I wish him the best of luck with the debate going forward.
Debate Round No. 1


MasturDbtor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


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Zaradi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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