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Newspapers nationwide recognize the first full week of October as National Newspaper Week. In conjunction with National Newspaper Week, marked this year Oct. 6 through 12, the Texas Press Association reminds readers that understanding the First Amendment is key to protecting our free society.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

• Freedom of Religion allows you to practice your religion freely or not at all. Under this right, you are free to think express and act upon your religious beliefs reasonably, respectfully and safely.

• Freedom of Speech allows you to share your mind and express yourself through words and actions. Under this right, you can share your opinions openly and peacefully without interference from the government.

• Freedom of the Press means we have the right to publish and circulate information or opinions without government censorship through print, broadcast and electronic media.

• Freedom to Peaceably Assemble or protest allows you to nonviolently assemble, privately or publicly, with an aim of accomplishing a common goal or acting on a common idea.

• Freedom to Petition the government for redress of grievances means you can actively participate in government by asking for changes or adjustments that affect you or in which you feel strongly.

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