Restriction of Freedom of Speech in USA

Restriction of Freedom of Speech in USA. The government is usually in a dilemma when it comes to disseminating information to the public. The government usually possesses information about its programs, policies, activities and processes. Although the information would be of great value to the public, the government officials insist that the information must not be availed to the public. Just as in the Manning and Wikileaks saga, the government insisted that Manning violated his freedom of expression by distributing documents with the government’s secrets. The government officials are against the dissemination of such information because they are afraid that disclosure of specific information would undermine the country’s security. For instance, the information distributed by Manning during a war in Iraq would pose a real danger to the United States defense forces and also the country at large if the information reached the enemies (Savage & Huettemanaug, 2013). Also, sometimes the government officials are opposed to the dissemination of such information because they do not want to deal with the public criticisms of their activities, programs and decisions. The government officials do not want the congress, the public or the judiciary to override their decision which the officials believe is appropriate. Sometimes, disclosure of some information exposes the government’s incompetence and wrong doings. At times, the disclosure of classified information such as unlawful or unconstitutional programs such as using coercion during interrogation and secret use of electronic surveillance systems would be valuable to public debates. However, other confidential information such as the publication of undercover American agents would be of little or no value to the public.

Restriction of Freedom

It is necessary for the society to restrict freedom of speech. Restricting freedom of speech ensures a more controlled society (Mitchell, 2016). If the society did not have speech restrictions, anyone would publish a false story about another person. The offended person would be unable to defend themselves because the society does not restrict the freedom of expression. Also, in an unrestricted society, one person would announce their beliefs loudly thus disturbing other people just because they have a right to speak. Although the freedom of speech is afforded in the United States’ constitution, the freedom should be restricted in a civilized society. This is the argument the government officials made when they found out that Manning had passed the government’s secrets to a whistleblower website knowingly.

Restriction of Freedom


The freedom of speech debate is very controversial because it is not clear who is to decide what can or cannot be expressed. The article by Herbeck (2018) highlights the battles over free speech that has occurred in universities across the United States. According to Herbeck (2018), there have been incidences where the college students have prevented public speakers from addressing them because of their controversial viewpoints. This debate shows how controversial the issue of free speech is at the moment. The freedom of expression stated in the constitution is controlled to protect other citizens from harm. For instance, Manning did not have the right to distribute the country’ secrets to a third party although he has a right to express himself because the act put the nation in danger.  The Manning versus United States case stated that there are some classes of speech that are restricted. Passing the country’s confidential secrets to another person violates the freedom of expression because it puts the country in danger.

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