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1 ABRAMS VS US, 250 US 610

Facts of the Case:

The defendants were convicted on the basis of two leaflets they printed and threw from windows
of a building. One leaflet signed "revolutionists" denounced the sending of American troops to
Russia. The second leaflet, written in Yiddish, denounced the war and US efforts to impede the
Russian Revolution. The defendants were charged and convicted for inciting resistance to the
war effort and for urging curtailment of production of essential war material. They were
sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Issue:

Do the amendments to the Espionage Act or the application of those amendments in this case
violate the free speech clause of the First Amendment?

Held:

No and no. The act's amendments are constitutional and the defendants' convictions are
affirmed. In Clarke's majority opinion, the leaflets are an appeal to violent revolution, a call for a
general strike, and an attempt to curtail production of munitions. The leaflets had a tendency to
encourage war resistance and to curtail war production. Holmes and Brandeis dissented on
narrow ground: the necessary intent had not been shown. These views were to become a classic
libertarian pronouncement.

2 NEAR VS MINNESOTA, 283 US 697

Facts of the Case:

Jay Near published a scandal sheet in Minneapolis, in which he attacked local officials, charging
that they were implicated with gangsters. Minnesota officials obtained an injunction to prevent
Near from publishing his newspaper under a state law that allowed such action against
periodicals. The law provided that any person "engaged in the business" of regularly publishing
or circulating an "obscene, lewd, and lascivious" or a "malicious, scandalous and defamatory"
newspaper or periodical was guilty of a nuisance, and could be enjoined (stopped) from further
committing or maintaining the nuisance.

Issue:

Does the Minnesota "gag law" violate the free press provision of the First Amendment?

Held:

The Supreme Court held that the statute authorizing the injunction was unconstitutional as
applied. History had shown that the protection against previous restraints was at the heart of the
First Amendment. The Court held that the statutory scheme constituted a prior restraint and
hence was invalid under the First Amendment. Thus the Court established as a constitutional
principle the doctrine that, with some narrow exceptions, the government could not censor or
otherwise prohibit a publication in advance, even though the communication might be
punishable after publication in a criminal or other proceeding.
5 NY TIMES VS US, 403 US 713

Facts:

In what became known as the "Pentagon Papers Case," the Nixon Administration attempted to
prevent the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing materials belonging to a
classified Defense Department study regarding the history of United States activities in Vietnam.
The President argued that prior restraint was necessary to protect national security. This case
was decided together with United States v. Washington Post Co.

Issue:

Did the Nixon administration's efforts to prevent the publication of what it termed "classified
information" violate the First Amendment?

Held:

Yes. In its per curiam opinion the Court held that the government did not overcome the "heavy
presumption against" prior restraint of the press in this case. Justices Black and Douglas argued
that the vague word "security" should not be used "to abrogate the fundamental law embodied
in the First Amendment." Justice Brennan reasoned that since publication would not cause an
inevitable, direct, and immediate event imperiling the safety of American forces, prior restraint
was unjustified.

3 KINGSLEY BOOKS INC VS BROWN, 354 US 436

Facts:

New York state law authorized the legal counsel for a municipality to seek an injunction against
and the destruction of material deemed by the courts to be obscene. Peter Campbell Brown,
Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, sought such an injunction against several
bookstores. The process of review that followed was a civil, rather than criminal procedure, and
the courts ultimately granted the injunction and sought to destroy the obscene material.

Issue:

Did the civil procedure as laid out by New York statute violate the booksellers' rights under the
Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by not allowing for a criminal trial before
imposing an injunction and destroying the obscene material?

Held:

No. In a 5–4 opinion authored by Justice Felix Frankfurter, the Court concluded that the civil
procedure complied with the requirements of due process. Justice Frankfurter noted that the
procedural safeguards were not significantly different from many state criminal misdemeanor
procedures, nor were the penalties any more severe. The opinion also reaffirmed the existing
notion that the constitutional protection of speech does not extend to obscene material.
6 IGLESIA NI CRISTO VS CA, 259 SCRA 529

Facts:

Petitioner has a television program entitled "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo" aired on Channel 2 every
Saturday and on Channel 13 every Sunday. The program presents and propagates petitioner's
religious beliefs, doctrines and practices often times in comparative studies with other religions.
Petitioner submitted to the respondent Board of Review for Moving Pictures and Television the
VTR tapes of its TV program Series Nos. 116, 119, 121 and 128. The Board classified the series
as "X" or not for public viewing on the ground that they "offend and constitute an attack against
otherreligions which is expressly prohibited by law." On November 28, 1992, it appealed to the
Office of the President the classification of its TV Series No. 128 which allowed it through a letter
of former Executive Secretary Edelmiro A. Amante, Sr., addressed for Henrietta S. Mendez
reversing the decision of the respondent Board. According to the letter the episode in is
protected by the constitutional guarantee of free speech and expression and no indication that
the episode poses any clear and present danger. Petitioner also filed Civil Case. Petitioner
alleged that the respondent Board acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in
requiring petitioner to submit the VTR tapes of itsTV program and in x-rating them. It cited its TV
Program Series Nos. 115, 119, 121 and 128. In their Answer, respondent Board invoked its power
under PD No. 19861 in relation to Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. The Iglesia ni Cristo
insists on the literal translation of the bible and says that our (Catholic) veneration of the Virgin
Mary is not to be condoned because nowhere it is found in the bible. The board contended that it
outrages Catholic and Protestant's beliefs. RTC ruled in favor of petitioners. CA however reversed
it hence this petition.

Issue:

WON the "ang iglesia ni cristo" program is not constitutionally protected as a form of religious
exercise and expression.

Held:

Yes. Any act that restrains speech is accompanied with presumption of invalidity. It is the
burden of the respondent Board to overthrow this presumption. If it fails to discharge this
burden, its act of censorship will be struck down. This is true in this case. So-called "attacks" are
mere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of otherreligions . RTC’s ruling
clearly suppresses petitioner's freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of
religion. “attack” is different from “offend” any race or religion. The respondent Board may
disagree with the criticisms of otherreligions by petitioner but that gives it no excuse to interdict
such criticisms, however, unclean they may be. Under our constitutional scheme, it is not the
task of the State to favor any religion by protecting it against an attack by another
religion.Religious dogmas and beliefs are often at war and to preserve peace among their
followers, especially the fanatics, the establishment clause of freedom of religion prohibits the
State from leaning towards any religion. Respondent board cannot censor the speech of
petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks otherreligions, even if said religion happens
to be the most numerous church in our country. The basis of freedom of religion is freedom of
thought and it is best served by encouraging the marketplace of dueling ideas. It is only where it
is unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare
of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the
smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. There is no showing whatsoever of the type of
harm the tapes will bring about especially the gravity and imminence of the threatened harm.
Prior restraint on speech, includingreligious speech, cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but
only by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil. It is inappropriate to apply the clear and
present danger test to the case at bar because the issue involves the content of speech and not
the time, place or manner of speech. Allegedly, unless the speech is first allowed, its impact
cannot be measured, and the causal connection between the speech and the evil apprehended
cannot be established. The determination of the question as to whether or not such vilification,
exaggeration or fabrication falls within or lies outside the boundaries of protected speech or
expression is a judicial function which cannot be arrogated by an administrative body such as a
Board of Censors." A system of prior restraint may only be validly administered by judges and
not left to administrative agencies.

4 GROSJEAN VS AMERICAN PRESS, CO., 297 US 233

Facts:

-Suit brought by nine publishers of newspapers within the State of Louisiana—to enjoin the
enforcement against them of the provisions of ACT No. 23.

-ACT No. 23 requires everyone subject to the tax to file a sworn report every three months
showing the amount and the gross receipts from the business described in § 1. The resulting tax
must be paid when the report is filed. Failure to file the report or pay the tax as thus provided
constitutes a misdemeanor and subjects the offender to a fine not exceeding $500, or
imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both, for each violation. Any corporation violating the
act subjects itself to the payment of $50 to be recovered by suit.

-Appellees contend that the said Act abridges the freedom of the press.

Issue: WON the act abridges the freedom of the press.

Held:

-The tax imposed was declared invalid because it tended to limit the circulation of any such
periodical seeking to avoid the payment of the tax.

-Characterizing the tax as “tax on knowledge” is an indirect attempt to restrict the dissemination
of ideas.

8 MUTUC VS COMELEC, 36 SCRA 228

Facts:

-Amelito Mutuc is a candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention

-COMELEC issued a rule prohibiting taped jingles for campaign purposes

-October 24, 1970: petitioner received a telegram stating that his candidacy has been given due
course and prohibiting him from using the taped jingles in his mobile units (for campaign
purposes)
-Petitioner Mutuc protested and invoked his right to freedom of speech.

-Respondent’s answer: no denial of the facts stated; but justified that the prohibition was
premised on a provision of the Constitutional Convention Act, which made it unlawful for
candidates "to purchase, produce, request or distribute sample ballots, or electoral propaganda
gadgets such as pens, lighters, fans (of whatever nature), flashlights, athletic goods or materials,
wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, cigarettes, and the like, whether of domestic or foreign
origin."; contended that the jingle proposed to be used by petitioner is the recorded or taped
voice of a singer and therefore a tangible propaganda material, under the above statute subject
to confiscation; prayed that the petition be denied for lack of merit.

Issue: WON the said rule (prohibiting the use of taped jingles) denied petitioner of his freedom
of speech.

Held:

-COMELEC is restrained and prohibited from enforcing such rule.

-The respondent Commission is expected to not exercise any authority in conflict with or outside
of the law; and there is no higher law than the Constitution.

-Regarding the petitioner’s invocation of his right to free speech, the Court has constantly held
that this preferred freedom calls all the more for the utmost respect. What respondent
Commission did, in effect, was to impose censorship on petitioner, an evil against which this
constitutional right is directed. Nor could respondent Commission justify its action by the
assertion that petitioner, if he would not resort to taped jingle, would be free, either by himself or
through others, to use his mobile loudspeakers. Precisely, the constitutional guarantee is not to
be weakened by confining it to a speaker having his say, but not perpetuating what is uttered by
him through tape or other mechanical contrivances. If this Court were to sustain respondent
Commission, then the effect would hardly be distinguishable from a previous restraint. That
cannot be validly done. It would negate indirectly what the Constitution in express terms assures

9 NATIONAL PRESS CLUB VS COMELEC, 207 SCRA 1

Facts:

-Question raised in the case: constitutionality of Sec 11 (b) of RA 6646. Petitioners argue that
said provision violates and invades the constitutional guarantee comprising of freedom of
expression.

- Sec. 11 Prohibited Forms of Election Propaganda. — In addition to the forms of election propaganda
prohibited under Section 85 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, it shall be unlawful; xxx xxx xxx b) for any
newspapers, radio broadcasting or television station, other mass media, or any person making use of the
mass media to sell or to give free of charge print space or air time for campaign or other political purposes
except to the Commission as provided under Sections 90 and 92 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881. Any mass
media columnist, commentator, announcer or personality who is a candidate for any elective public office
shall take a leave of absence from his work as such during the campaign period.

-Petitioners in this case include: representatives of the mass media which are prevented from
selling or donating space and time for political advertisements; two individuals who are
candidates for office (one for national and the other for provincial office) in the coming May 1992
elections; and taxpayers and voters who claim that their right to be informed of election issues
and of credentials of the candidates is being curtailed.

Issue: WON Sec 11(b) of RA 6646 is valid.

Held:

- Section 11 (b) of Republic Act No. 6646 should be taken together with Sections 90 and 92 of
B.P. Blg. 881, known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, which provide respectively
as follows:

Sec. 90. Comelec space. — The Commission shall procure space in at least one newspaper of general
circulation in every province or city: Provided, however, That in the absence of said newspaper, publication
shall be done in any other magazine or periodical in said province or city, which shall be known as
"Comelec Space" wherein candidates can announce their candidacy. Said space shall be allocated, free of
charge, equally and impartially by the Commission among all candidates within the area in which the
newspaper is circulated.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 92. Comelec time. — The Commission shall procure radio and television time to be known as
"Comelec Time" which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the candidates within the area of
coverage of all radio and television stations. For this purpose, the franchise of all radio broadcasting and
television stations are hereby amended so as to provide radio or television time, free of charge, during the
period of the campaign.

-The objective which animates Section 11 (b) is the equalizing, as far as practicable, the
situations of rich and poor candidates by preventing the former from enjoying the undue
advantage offered by huge campaign "war chests."

-No one seriously disputes the legitimacy or the importance of the objective sought to be
secured by Section 11 (b) (of Republic Act No. 6646) in relation to Sections 90 and 92 (of the
Omnibus Election Code). That objective is of special importance and urgency in a country which,
like ours, is characterized by extreme disparity in income distribution between the economic elite
and the rest of society, and by the prevalence of poverty, with the bulk of our population falling
below that "poverty line." It is supremely important, however, to note that objective is not only a
concededly legitimate one; it has also been given constitutional status by the terms of Article
IX(C) (4) of the 1987 Constitution which provides as follows:

Sec. 4. The Commission [on Elections] may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the
enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public
utilities, media of communication or information, all grants, special privileges, or concessions granted by
the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned
or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal
opportunity, time, and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public
information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free,
orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

- The Comelec has thus been expressly authorized by the Constitution to supervise or regulate
the enjoyment or utilization of the franchises or permits for the operation of media of
communication and information. The fundamental purpose of such "supervision or regulation"
has been spelled out in the Constitution as the ensuring of "equal opportunity, time, and space,
and the right to reply," as well as uniform and reasonable rates of charges for the use of such
media facilities, in connection with "public information campaigns and forums among
candidates."

10 ADIONG VS COMELEC, 207 SCRA 713

Facts:

- On January 13, 1992, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 2347 pursuant to its powers
granted by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, Republic Acts Nos. 6646 and 7166 and
other election laws.

-Section 15(a) of the resolution provides:

Sec. 15. Lawful Election Propaganda. — The following are lawful election propaganda:

(a) Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers, handwritten or printed letters, or other written or printed
materials not more than eight and one-half (8-1/2) inches in width and fourteen (14) inches in length.
Provided, That decals and stickers may be posted only in any of the authorized posting areas provided in
paragraph (f) of Section 21 hereof.

Section 21 (f) of the same resolution provides:

Sec. 21(f). Prohibited forms of election propaganda. —

It is unlawful:

xxx xxx xxx

(f) To draw, paint, inscribe, post, display or publicly exhibit any election propaganda in any place, whether
public or private, mobile or stationary, except in the COMELEC common posted areas and/or billboards, at
the campaign headquarters of the candidate or political party, organization or coalition, or at the
candidate's own residential house or one of his residential houses, if he has more than one: Provided, that
such posters or election propaganda shall not exceed two (2) feet by three (3) feet in size.

-Petitioner Blo Umpar Adiong, a senatorial candidate in the May 11, 1992 elections now assails
the COMELEC's Resolution insofar as it prohibits the posting of decals and stickers in "mobile"
places like cars and other moving vehicles. According to him such prohibition is violative of
Section 82 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 11(a) of Republic Act No. 6646. In addition,
the petitioner believes that with the ban on radio, television and print political advertisements,
he, being a neophyte in the field of politics stands to suffer grave and irreparable injury with this
prohibition. The posting of decals and stickers on cars and other moving vehicles would be his
last medium to inform the electorate that he is a senatorial candidate in the May 11, 1992
elections. Finally, the petitioner states that as of February 22, 1992 (the date of the petition) he
has not received any notice from any of the Election Registrars in the entire country as to the
location of the supposed "Comelec Poster Areas."

Issue: WON the COMELEC may prohibit the posting of decals and stickers on "mobile" places,
public or private, and limit their location or publication to the authorized posting areas that it
fixes.

Held:
-The prohibition on posting of decals and stickers on “mobile” places whether public or private
except in authorized areas designated by the COMELEC becomes censorship which cannot be
justified by the Constitution.

-The posting of decals and stickers on cars, calesas, tricycles, pedicabs and other moving
vehicles needs the consent of the owner of the vehicle. Hence, the preference of the citizen
becomes crucial in this kind of election propaganda not the financial resources of the candidate.
Whether the candidate is rich and, therefore, can afford to doleout more decals and stickers or
poor and without the means to spread out the same number of decals and stickers is not as
important as the right of the owner to freely express his choice and exercise his right of free
speech. The owner can even prepare his own decals or stickers for posting on his personal
property. To strike down this right and enjoin it is impermissible encroachment of his liberties.