The government should restrict the freedom of expression for the sake of its security. In the First Amendments, the United States government guarantees freedom of expression in the Bill of Bights (Cohen 18). However, it is imperative that it restricts the specification in order to protect itself from some of the security issues. Some of these issues include slander or defamation, children pornography, obscenity, sedition and prior restraint.
The United States government provides protection for the people's right to express their selves. This involves freedom of expression through speech, writing and any other communication. This freedom applies to all people and the media companies. They are allowed to communicate anything to anyone at any time. It also gives one the right to explore any general affair.
However, the complete freedom may result in more harm to the government than satisfactory. Thus, it is necessary to limit the provision for any peaceful coexistence in the United States. There are many reasons for this restriction. First, the government restricts the freedom of expression so as to avoid libel. This is the negative and malicious use of written words (Cram 144). Here, an individual knowingly communicates false information about another person. Consequently, this ruins the reputation of the defamed person. The government restricts this for the sake maintaining its outstanding reputation and those of other individuals.
Defamation is unauthorized in the court of law. The injured person can sue the offender and recover damages for the breach under the states laws. Nevertheless, damages are not paid when defamation is privileged; when an utterance is made on an executive, judicial, legislative or administrative procedure. Damages restrict an individual's freedom of speech (Deibert 80). However, in the First Amendment, the Supreme High Court protects defamation. It insists that public people and officials cannot recover damages unless they clearly prove that the utterance was made maliciously. Moreover, it holds that private figures may not recover the damages if they cannot prove that the statements bore some fault.
Another form of speech that the government restricts is obscenity. This involves any statement or action that compromises morality. Legally, it involves words, images or actions that portray sexual scenes; moral revulsion. The Supreme High Court does not provide First Amendment to it regardless of whether it ruins the individuals. It is imperative that it is restricted so as guard the social interests in order and morality.
Besides, the government does not need to prove its negative effects on the citizen in order to abolish it (Tyagi 654). The Supreme Court allows an exception to the regulation that obscenity is not guarded by the First Amendment. Here, an individual is free to have an obscene material in the privacy of his or her own home. Nevertheless, the court does not provide any right to give obscene materials for personal use or to obtain it for personal purposes.
In addition, the court limits child pornography. This involves any material bearing any sexual behavior by the children. The court provides no protection for it in the First Amendment even when it does not have any obscenity. However, it is essential that it meets the Miller test so as to be declared banned (Cram 140). The constitution does not allow its custody even in the privacy of one's home. Child Pornography Protection Act (CPPA), established that child pornography consist of all the visual expressions involving the children even when the children are not used.
However, the Supreme Court announced that the CPPA is not right in its definition of child pornography. Instead, it claims that no material is banned if it does not involve any minor. On the other hand, seditious speech involves any behavior that can cause such activities. Furthermore, the Supreme Court limits the use of seditious speeches. Sedition is an act of attempting to overthrow the government or to interfere with its right operations through violence (Deibert 85). During the World War I, the state put in place to control the form of speech. It was then considered as a crime that attracted disloyalty, and interfered with the draft.
It also involved engaging in activities that are destructive to the nation. For example, in Schenck versus United States, in 1917, the court established the judgment of a man who had incited the other men to resist the constitutional draft. The main concept in this was that any word or expression that causes people to rebel against the government, should be banned. That is, any words that incite people to fight or object something, causing mayhem in the process are termed as illegal. Therefore, there are damages settled by the defendants who are found guilty of the crime.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court argues that the act of only persuading someone to belief something is not the same as persuading them to act or do something. Therefore, this difference aids in providing clarity of the matter. During the cold war, laws against sedition were made in order to protect the country communist subversion (Tyagi 656). Nevertheless, most of these laws were unsuccessful and hard to implement.
There is also treason, an issue that is closely related to sedition. Sedition concerns an organized resistance of the ruling government. On the other hand, treason involves the violation of the allegiance or loyalty to one's state in conjunction with the adversaries or war against one's own country. That is sedition is the persuasion of other citizens to resist the government while treason involves an individual betraying his country through helping another country. Sedition laws are equal to terrorism and public order rules.
Prior Restraint is another issue that the government restricts within the freedom of expression. This involves preventing certain ideas before they are expressed. However, the Supreme Court maintains that the government should not apply the restraint before any publication is made unless under serious circumstances. Therefore, the court protects this right. For example, in Minnesota versus Near, the court guarded the right of the 'miscreant purveyors of scandal.'
Moreover, in the New York versus the United States, in 1971, the government attempted to stop the printing the Pentagon Papers that had been slipped and given to the journalists. The Supreme Court determined that the government was wrong in its actions since it was unable to prove that the papers interfered with the national security (Cram 146). Therefore, the government's claim did not qualify to be a crime that needed any prior restraint of publication.
Furthermore, the government restricts the freedom of expression on commercial speech. In the First Amendment, the court allowed protection against advertising with certain exceptions. Commercial speech is used in business operations, especially when advertising. It was not until 19 70s that the court provided protection of the commercial speech. For instance, some adverts like those of tobacco, illegal stuff or services or any misleading and false advertisement. This is highly vital in that it safeguards the state's condition.
Additionally, the court should not allow any Prior Restraint on certain ideas. This hinders the citizens from expressing their ideas freely. Some of the ideas could make people realize the leadership in power. The ideas can also be influential in the running of the state affairs.
However, I refute the statement that the government should limit some issues in the freedom of expression. This is because it will take advantage of the restriction to oppress the citizens. For example, sedition is essential in uprooting the dictatorial governments. The leaders that are oppressive and domineering should be forcefully be overthrown if there are smart citizens in the country. Restricting it will inhibit the citizens from correcting any form of ill leadership in the country.
Evidently, the government should have certain restrictions in the forms of expression so as to maintain peace and security in the country. People exercise their rights constitutionally and for their own welfare.