Sunday, October 5, 2008

Freedom of Speech in News

There cannot be much doubt that freedom of speech is one of the most important rights set by the framers of the constitution. The majority of my presentation focused on the case of the New York Times v. United States; which was an issue of censorship and whether the United States had the right to prior restrain New York Times of secret government documents. Personally, I sided with the New York Times, which ultimately won the case, after my research I believe the government was deceiving and misleading the American people on how the Vietnam situation was being handled. This comes to the argument over the right to know versus the need to know. Should information be leaked based on the public’s need to know?

I say no, it should be leaked based on the public’s right to know. For example, if a reporter has information that he deeply believes the public should know, it is his duty to present this information. Regarding the Columbine presentation and argument over the issue of right to know versus need to know, the information presented to the public should be left up to the source. There should be a “code of ethics” when dealing with sensitive issues, and the information should not put the citizens or the case being dealt with in immediate or irreparable danger. For example, information leaked should not help an unfound criminal know of the police’s whereabouts, further complicating it for the police. Regardless, the regulation should be in the hands of the citizens and not the government, for the most part. The fact is information is legal as long as it does not put the citizens of America in immediate and irreparable danger.

I want my news to let me know many things, I want to be told the facts, but at the same time I want to be told if I am being mislead. If a reporter publishes and opinion article I don’t agree with, they do have the right to publish that article, and for that I am glad. Perhaps their article will broaden my horizons on a topic and force me to think differently on an issue. In this country we have the right to display our thoughts, in many cases, no matter how diverse they are, and for that we should be proud to be citizens of this great country.

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