Is Protection Given to Free Press and Speech Broader Than the Minimum Required by the First Amendment ?

In O'Neill v. Oakgrove Constr. (71 NY2d 521 [1988]), the New York Court of Appeals elaborated on the history behind article I, 8 of the New York Constitution. For the first time the Court found that the protections contemplated by article I, 8 are broader than those contemplated by the 1st Amendment of the Federal Constitution: "The expansive language of our State constitutional guarantee (compare, NY Const, art I, 8, with US Const 1st Amend), its formulation and adoption prior to the Supreme Court's application of the First Amendment to the States (compare, NY Const of 1821, art VII, 8; and Brandreth v. Lance, 8 Paige 24 [1839], with Near v. Minnesota, 283 US 697 [1931]--[citing Brandreth v. Lance and other New York cases with approval, id., at 719, n 11]), the recognition in very early New York history of a constitutionally guaranteed liberty of the press (see, Jay, Address to the People of the State of New York, May 1788, 3 American Museum [No. 6] 559 [1792], reprinted in 3 Roots of the Bill of Rights, at 554, 560 [Schwartz ed]; Smith, Address to the People of the State of New York, May 1788--Postscript [agreeing with Jay on that point], reprinted in id., at 566, 576), and the consistent tradition in this State of providing the broadest possible protection to 'the sensitive role of gathering and disseminating news of public events' (Matter of Beach v. Shanley, 62 NY2d 241, 256 [Wachtler, J., concurring]), all call for particular vigilance by the courts of this State in safeguarding the free press against undue interference." (O'Neill v. Oakgrove Constr., at 528-529.) "The protection afforded by the guarantees of free press and speech in the New York Constitution is often broader than the minimum required by the First Amendment (see, People ex rel. Arcara v. Cloud Books, 68 NY2d 553, 557-558; Matter of Beach v. Shanley, 62 NY2d 241, 255 [Wachtler, J., concurring]; Bellanca v. New York State Liq. Auth., 54 NY2d 228, 235). Article I, 8 of the Constitution assures, in affirmative terms, the right of our citizens to 'freely speak, write and publish' and prohibits the use of official authority which acts to 'restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press'." (O'Neill v. Oakgrove Constr., at 529, n 3.)