Newseum Institute survey: Public values independent press, concerned about leaks

Newseum Institute’s State of the First Amendment report

A Newseum Institute survey on public attitudes toward the First Amendment shows the public still strongly and consistently supports the freedoms of the First Amendment. The survey found two-thirds of respondents (67.7%) agreed “the media should act as a watchdog of the government.” The percentage of respondents agreeing that the news media reports without bias nearly doubled to 43.1% from a year ago.

Other results on topics of interest to the coalition:

Unauthorized disclosures (“Leaks”). Respondents were not swayed that prosecutors should weigh the public interest from a disclosure when deciding to bring charges against leakers of classified information, but that question was more controversial, receiving the second-highest number of undecideds.

The public also has concerns with publishing classified information that was obtained illegally by someone else.

Anti-SLAPP. 59.1% of respondents somewhat or strongly disagreed with the statement, “Individuals should be allowed to finance lawsuits against media outlets that do not directly involve that individual.”