Definition of prior restraint in US English:

prior restraint


  • Judicial suppression of material that would be published or broadcast, on the grounds that it is libelous or harmful. In US law, the First Amendment severely limits the ability of the government to do this.

    • ‘The government is rendered powerless to impose a prior restraint on your speech or to criminalize your speech in so far as your speech is directed against it.’
    • ‘Criminal punishment is not a prior restraint unless it happens before the speech is actually published.’
    • ‘And historically, prior restraint of publication has been viewed as presumptively unconstitutional.’
    • ‘Typically, the prior restraint doctrine is raised in suits about libel and government censorship, but in theory it could apply in any suit with a First Amendment dimension.’
    • ‘The decision outlawed the prior restraint of publications and termed suppression a greater danger than journalistic irresponsibility.’