Can you help me about the exact meaning of the following passage?

Homayoon, himself an eminent journalist, had worked to get past a press law to balance the press freedom with responsibility—in vain, as events evolved.

The phrase "get past" is especially problematic. Does it mean to pass a law, or skip a law?

  • laws are passed, not past. So, you can take "to pass a law" out of the running.
    – katatahito
    Jun 25, 2019 at 6:20
  • Who wrote this? From the limited context we have, it sounds as though the intended meaning might have been passed ... but then it should be to get a press law passed, and it seems implausible that someone would make such a big mistake.
    – user339660
    Jun 25, 2019 at 7:38
  • 1
    In the context of the rest of that sentence I think they mean "passed".
    – nnnnnn
    Jul 26, 2019 at 0:38
  • 1
    No, to get past something is an idiom. It means to avoid it or go beyond it or overcome it. To get past a barrier, to get past one's feelings, to get past whatever.
    – Lambie
    Nov 22, 2019 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


Get past a law can (and I think here does) mean to avoid the applicability of a law. For example, if the law dictates that that one may not drive in a certain lane if alone (but with a non-driving passenger it's okay), putting a passenger in the car solely for the purpose of being able to drive in that lane can be called getting past the law. Press law here seems to mean a law that affects the press, meaning journalists and the like. I suspect therefore that the sentence means: Homayoon, himself an eminent journalist, had tried to evade the applicability of a law imposed on members of the press that required them to balance their freedom with responsibility—in vain, as events evolved.

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