Purpose of First Amendment Audits

The purpose of First Amendment Audits explained

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Because of the reputation developed from the actions of the original First Amendment Auditors - the copblockers and copwatchers - many people consider the Auditors as "troublemakers" and "instigators" and do not recognize the true nature and purpose of First Amendment Audits.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains confirmation of five specific human rights:
1. Freedom of Religion
2. Freedom of Speech
3. Freedom of Press
4. Freedom to Peacefully Assemble
5. Freedom to Petition Government for Redress of Grivevances

First Amendment Auditors generally participate in the second through fourth of these by gathering information of public interest for dissemination, sometimes in groups, and expressing their opinions of their experiences. This sometimes also incorporates the fifth principle when government officials or employees violate their oaths of office thereby leading to the filing of grievances.

Through various U.S. Supreme Court rulings and laws, the actions taken by First Amendment Auditors are declared to be within their rights as enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. Their actions "put to the test" the public's knowledge of this, specifically that of government officials and employees.

As is declared in the opening to an increasing number of First Amendment Audit videos, the purpose of the Audit is to check to see if their rights are respected when videoing from public and publicly accessible places.

In general, it has been declared that photography and videography is legally acceptable when done from public spaces or publicly accessible locations when done for journalistic purposes. Courts have continually rules that, by disseminating content from their videos through platforms such as YouTube and other social media sites or websites, the Auditors are performing journalistic functions and fall under the protections of "Free Press."

Video taken and disseminated through such endeavors is also expressive in nature, furthering the First Amendment protections.

During the video sessions, the Auditors often have opportunity to interact with the public and public officials or employees. Those interactions sometimes escalate into the usage of what some would call unsavory language, further exhibiting their protections under the First Amendment. Even though some will attempt to convince the Auditor that simply using such language is in violation of city ordinance or state law, the Supreme Court has declared that the language to which such ordinances and laws apply would only be those that are considered "fighting words" and that they cannot include simply profanity.

Ultimately, the purpose of the Audits, as implied to this point, is the education of the public, specifically public officials and employees, to the aspects of the First Amendment. There are many nuances to the Amendment and its applicability, and it would be expected that those serving the public would be aware of these and abide by them.


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