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New Poll: Majority of Millennials Support Jail Time for Offensive Speech

Campaign for Free Speech launched to fight concerning trends around First Amendment

WASHINGTON, DC – New polling shows that Americans are increasingly hostile toward free speech, a free press, and the First Amendment.

According to the survey, 61 percent of Americans agree that free speech should be restricted, and 51 percent believe that the First Amendment, ratified in 1791, should be rewritten to reflect the new cultural norms of today.

Millennials feel a greater sense of negativity from free speech, with 57 percent agreeing that the First Amendment should be rewritten, and 54 percent believing that possible jail time would be an appropriate consequence for “hate speech.”

Americans also support government being able to punish the media: 57% believe the government should be able to take action against newspapers or TV stations. Of those who support this, 46% support possible jail time. Additionally, 36% of Americans support a government agency reviewing alternative media such as podcasts; less than half of Americans oppose this.

To combat the growing disdain for free speech, a newly created organization called the Campaign for Free Speech hopes to bring awareness about the importance of the First Amendment and ensure that Americans continue to have a robust, free, and open dialogue. As college campuses increasingly restrict public speakers and a surge of free speech cases continue to batter the court system, the need to highlight the First Amendment and the freedom of speech has become extremely important.

The Campaign for Free Speech is dedicated to ensuring that all Americans may use their First Amendment rights to express ideas responsibly; a cornerstone of liberty and democracy in the United States.

“These new polling results indicate free speech is under more threat than previously believed,” said Bob Lystad, executive director of Campaign for Free Speech. “Our new initiative aims to combat this concerning trend by highlighting how restricted speech and a restricted press harms everyone, regardless of political affiliation. America can’t be a free country without open dialogue and a robust press.”

The polling was conducted by Engine from September 3-5 and surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,004 adults. The full polling will be available at www.CampaignForFreeSpeech.org.

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