Texas Press Association is among the state associations encouraging members to support the "Think F1rst" public awareness campaign about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Originally developed by Media of Nebraska, the campaign launched nationwide Aug.1.
The campaign includes materials for print, broadcast and online use designed to encourage all Americans to think about the First Amendment and the five freedoms it guarantees. Campaign components encourage readers to learn more by visiting the website, www.thinkfirstamendment.org.
After “Think F1rst” debuted in Nebraska in 2018, the website attracted more than 400,000 page views, according to Ariel Roblin, chairperson of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association.
Texas Press Association is among the press and broadcast associations supporting the campaign in 28 states.
“Through the “Think F1rst” campaign, Texas newspapers have access to free public service advertisements – professionally produced materials – with messages reminding their readers of the five important freedoms they enjoy and use every day,” TPA Executive Director Mike Hodges said. “Knowledge is power and keeping the First Amendment in the public eye ensures these freedoms will be preserved.”
The original “Think F1rst” Nebraska campaign was created last year after Media of Nebraska members noted polls showing that many Americans lacked knowledge of the First Amendment, particularly in articulating the five freedoms that it guarantees.
Among those polls is the Freedom Forum Institute/First Amendment Center annual survey of Americans on their views regarding the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. The annual survey also samples opinions on contemporary First Amendment issues.
The 2019 survey shows that the public has generally become more knowledgeable about rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. According to the Freedom Forum Institute, 71 percent of respondents were able to correctly name at least one First Amendment right, an increase of almost 20 percent compared to 2018 survey results.
Despite broader public awareness, there are still many misconceptions surrounding the First Amendment, according to the institute. Sixteen percent of those surveyed said that the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the First Amendment, up from 9 percent in 2018, while 65 percent said social media companies violate users’ First Amendment rights when they ban users based on objectionable content they post.
The Freedom Forum Institute reported that overall, the 2019 survey results show that continued education efforts are critical and increased awareness can result in increased public support. The “Think F1rst” public awareness campaign is a national effort to support those findings.
Print PSA materials are available on the Texas Press Association website at https://www.texaspress.com/sites/default/files/ThinkFirst_PrintAds.pdf and at www.thinkfirstamendment.org.