New Voices in Arkansas

Current Status: Arkansas has a New Voices law. Arkansas state law protects public high school and public college student journalists from censorship, except in certain specific circumstances. The law does not protect advisers from retaliation. Want to strengthen the law in 2024? Join the movement by emailing SPLC’s Advocacy and Organizing Team at

Know Your Rights

Who is protected from censorship?

Every public school district must have a policy recognizing the ability of students to exercise their First Amendment rights, including in school-sponsored media. Public higher education student journalists control the content of student media. This includes newspapers, yearbooks, literary magazines, podcasts, broadcast, and more.

College or university student advisers are protected from professional consequences for refusing to censor student media or override their students’ publication decisions. 

What work can be censored?

Public school student media is not protected if it: 

  • Is obscene to minors;
  • Constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
  • So incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises, the violation of lawful school rules, or the material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school; or
  • Harasses, threatens or intimidates a student.

College and university student media can only be restricted if it:

  • Is libelous, slanderous, or obscene;
  • Constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
  • Violates federal or state law;
  • Constitute or incites students as to create an unlawful act a clear and present danger of the commission of an unlawful act, a violation of institution or Division of Higher Education policy, or a material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the college or university; or
  • Involves the unauthorized use of the marks or logos of a public institution of higher education.

What happens if I’m being censored?

Try to get any communication from your school in writing, or write down your own memory of events as they happen.

Contact the Student Press Law Center immediately.

Join the Movement
  • Know your press freedom rights and make sure others do as well. Spread the word about Arkansas’s New Voices laws on social media and in your newsroom. 
  • Arkansas law requires your school board to have a written student publications policy. Locate a copy of this policy. (You can use this toolkit to help you find it and some examples of red flags to look out for.) If the policy seems like it endorses censorship or doesn’t match the New Voices law, let SPLC know!
  • Help your colleagues better understand student press freedom by inviting an SPLC expert to join you: SPLC In The Classroom.
  • Advocate for even more student press freedom. Is the law not good enough? Talk with SPLC’s New Voices Advocacy and Organizing Team ( about gaps you see in the law and how we can work to make it stronger.

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