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The constitutional guarantee of free speech 'serves significant societal interests' wholly apart from the speaker's interest in self-expression. First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 776 (1978). By protecting those who wish to enter the marketplace of ideas from government attack, the First Amendment protects the public's interest in receiving information. See Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 102 (1940); Saxbe v. Washington Post Co., 417 U.S. 843, 863 -864 (1974) (POWELL, J., dissenting). The identity of the speaker is not decisive in determining whether speech is protected. Corporations and other associations, like individuals, contribute to the 'discussion, debate, and the dissemination of information and ideas' that the First Amendment seeks to foster. First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, supra, at 783 (citations omitted). Thus, in Bellotti, the Supreme Court invalidated a state prohibition aimed at speech by corporations that sought to influence the outcome of a state referendum. 435 U.S., at 795 . Similarly, in Consolidated Edison Co. v. Public Service Comm'n of N. Y., 447 U.S. 530, 544 (1980), it invalidated a state order prohibiting a privately owned utility company from discussing controversial political issues in its billing ...

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