By: SolarPyro | Nov 20th, 2011
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” (U.S. Const., Amendment 1). Wikileaks, as a journalistic entity, resides in the safety of the first amendment’s “Freedom of the Press/Freedom of Speech” clause. The first amendment is an absolute, blanket statement.
Under the First Amendment, any journalistic entity is free to provide the public with whichever truths they deem necessary. Libel accusations are out of the question.
Examination of the actions of our government in response to leaked documents and cases prove that they have something to hide. If the leak was an outright lie, the government would treat it as such.
The actions of journalistic organizations such as Wikileaks keep our government in check by exposing unsettling truths about the governments that control our lives on a daily basis. The government makes many decisions each day, which are out of the control of the citizens. “Without free speech, citizens cannot debate the actions and policies of their elected officials, nor can they be well informed about current issues” (Monk 59).
Journalists are our primary source of information, whether we see them on television, the internet, or in periodicals. They publish information that they receive from informants and various others sources.
By preventing Wikileaks from spreading information it receives, any government is violating the inherently necessary doctrine of free speech and the freedom of the press.
Our country’s founding fathers believed in a free press that Thomas Jefferson once said “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter“ (qtd. in Monk 75).
Our freedom of the press enables the citizens to make well-informed decisions regarding our government (75).
Our country’s solid foundation was built on the ideologies of citizen choice and speech, and the attempted silencing of Wikileaks goes strongly against that foundation.
In their attack on Wikileaks, some say that it breaks the law by giving information regarding national security in the wrong hands. Wikileaks has “embarrassed” the country on multiple occasions, but this embarrassment is not a national security risk. The case of Wikileaks’ publishing of a higher death toll for the war in Iraq than previously publicly acknowledged by our government is one such example of national embarrassment as opposed to a breach of national security (“Iraq Death Toll”).