What is censorship?
Censorship of student media can take several forms. The two most common are prior review and prior restraint. As defined by the Journalism Education Association:
- Prior review occurs when anyone not on the student media staff requires that he or she be allowed to read, view or approve student material before distribution, airing or publication. Prior review often leads to self-censorship, as students focus on avoiding censorship instead of pursuing strong journalism. An officially designated adviser, when working with students and offering suggestions for improvement as part of the coaching and learning process, who reads or views student media content before publication is not engaged in prior review.
- Prior restraint occurs when someone not on the student media staff requires pre-distribution changes to or removal of student media content. It is a direct form of censorship.
Where to go for help
Use the MIPA Panic Button
If you face a censorship issue at your school, MIPA has resources to help. Use our Panic Button form to get a quick response to an urgent prior review or prior restraint issue.
Student Press Law Center
The Student Press Law Center provides free legal advice to student journalists and their advisers. For non-urgent media law-related concerns, use the SPLC legal request form. For urgent matters, call 703-807-1904.
Journalism Education Association Scholastic Press Rights Commission
The JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission works to educate, advocate and empower about the importance of the First Amendment and student press rights. The commission has a variety of resources teachers and students can use if they face censorship. Learn more at jeasprc.org