OPINION: A free press law is imperative for Texas

Senior+ENO+editor-in-chief+Neha+Madhira+takes+on+the+topic+of+student+press+law+by+posing+for+the+photo+here+and+by+authoring+the+attached+editorial.++Senator+Jose+Rodriguez+filed+S.B.+No.+514+Jan.+29%2C+2019%2C+in+the+Texas+State+Senate.+This+proposed+piece+of+legislation+has+the+support+of+the+New+Voices+movement+in+Texas+and+is+meant+to+protect+students+from+being+censored.+This+free+press+law+has+been+passed+in+14+other+states.+%22Allowing+students+to+express+their+beliefs+without+suppressing+them+not+only+makes+students+better+critical+thinkers%2C+but+this+freedom+also+brings+in+those+%E2%80%9Creal-world+situations%E2%80%9D+they+are+taught+to+learn+from%2C%22+Madhira+said.+%22Without+this+freedom%2C+students+have+no+voice%2C+and+without+New+Voices%2C+there+is+silence.%22
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OPINION: A free press law is imperative for Texas

Senior ENO editor-in-chief Neha Madhira takes on the topic of student press law by posing for the photo here and by authoring the attached editorial.  Senator Jose Rodriguez filed S.B. No. 514 Jan. 29, 2019, in the Texas State Senate. This proposed piece of legislation has the support of the New Voices movement in Texas and is meant to protect students from being censored. This free press law has been passed in 14 other states.

Senior ENO editor-in-chief Neha Madhira takes on the topic of student press law by posing for the photo here and by authoring the attached editorial. Senator Jose Rodriguez filed S.B. No. 514 Jan. 29, 2019, in the Texas State Senate. This proposed piece of legislation has the support of the New Voices movement in Texas and is meant to protect students from being censored. This free press law has been passed in 14 other states. "Allowing students to express their beliefs without suppressing them not only makes students better critical thinkers, but this freedom also brings in those “real-world situations” they are taught to learn from," Madhira said. "Without this freedom, students have no voice, and without New Voices, there is silence."

Kester Muthalaly

Senior ENO editor-in-chief Neha Madhira takes on the topic of student press law by posing for the photo here and by authoring the attached editorial. Senator Jose Rodriguez filed S.B. No. 514 Jan. 29, 2019, in the Texas State Senate. This proposed piece of legislation has the support of the New Voices movement in Texas and is meant to protect students from being censored. This free press law has been passed in 14 other states. "Allowing students to express their beliefs without suppressing them not only makes students better critical thinkers, but this freedom also brings in those “real-world situations” they are taught to learn from," Madhira said. "Without this freedom, students have no voice, and without New Voices, there is silence."

Kester Muthalaly

Kester Muthalaly

Senior ENO editor-in-chief Neha Madhira takes on the topic of student press law by posing for the photo here and by authoring the attached editorial. Senator Jose Rodriguez filed S.B. No. 514 Jan. 29, 2019, in the Texas State Senate. This proposed piece of legislation has the support of the New Voices movement in Texas and is meant to protect students from being censored. This free press law has been passed in 14 other states. "Allowing students to express their beliefs without suppressing them not only makes students better critical thinkers, but this freedom also brings in those “real-world situations” they are taught to learn from," Madhira said. "Without this freedom, students have no voice, and without New Voices, there is silence."

Neha Madhira, Editor-in-Chief

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Texas legislators recognized student voices are worth defending two years ago when they filed a New Voices bill, and it is back for its second session to obtain passage. Senator Jose Rodriguez filed Senate Bill 514 Jan. 29, 2019.  New Voices is a student-led legislative movement that protects students from unfounded censorship.

This free press law has already passed in 14 states, and Texas must be the next.

People who stifle student voices are afraid of them. Whether they work at schools or in the community, people who censor want to control what is being said, but that doesn’t stop students from finding this information.

Pullquote Photo

“At the same time, having New Voices does not mean everything becomes a Pandora’s box of what can be said or a free-for-all. Student journalists still must legally practice ethics and common sense when it comes to their reporting.”

— Neha Madhira, ENO Editor-in-Chief

A common example of this is when student media staffs are censored for writing about topics that are “too sensitive” for their school. Information is better than misinformation, and when students don’t receive the information they need from student journalists, who thoroughly research every story reported, they may find false resources elsewhere.

No matter if censorship is happening to student journalists, or to theatre students when parts of their plays are cut out, they are being limited an appropriate or meaningful education. Student voices are still suppressed.

At the same time, having New Voices does not mean everything becomes a Pandora’s box of what can be said or a free-for-all. Student journalists still must legally practice ethics and common sense when it comes to their reporting, while the same responsibility and community standards apply to theatre students or any other student groups.

At schools, students are taught to bring “real-world situations” into their classrooms. In art, students are told the basic guidelines of their assignment, but their creativity is not expressed for them. On the athletic field, students learn plays from their coaches, but they must go out on the field themselves. In a newsroom or theatre production, however, the responsibilities of reporting the truth, or telling the whole story, are taken away from students.

Allowing students to express their beliefs without suppressing them not only makes students better critical thinkers, but this freedom also brings in those “real-world situations” they are taught to learn from. Without this freedom, students have no voice, and without New Voices, there is silence.

See related National publications here:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/25/opinions/student-free-press-fight-against-censorship-madhira/index.html