This essay defines the meaning of freedom of speech and explores circumstances under which the individuals can be deprived of the rights. It also looks into the allegations made on Julian Assange by the United States and support the journalist gets from many countries, the awards he has won and finally persuades readers to consider a topic on a hot opinion to avoid being wrongly persuaded. Freedom of speech refers to the right of people to give their thoughts and opinions without any restrictions. This expression can be done through many mediums and forms of communication but without intentionally causing any harm to others by false or misleading statements.
Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, where people are allowed to communicate ideas and opinions freely without intervention from the Government. The denial of the right to freedom of speech to citizens by governments is known as censorship of speech or suppression of speech. Censorship is not always a wrong act and therefore, can be used by the government to accomplish good missions.
In the United States, any communication that disparages a group or an individual on grounds of certain characteristics is outside the law. This communication may incite violence or intimidate a protected individual. Law forbidding speech in the United States is unconstitutional according to the first amendment of the Constitution. Fighting words are however, not permitted in the United States, not because their content conveys any particular opinion but because their content bears a particularly unacceptable mode of expressing any idea that the speaker intends to communicate.
Even in situations where speech allows unlawful violence, cases of incitement qualify as criminal, only if the warning of violence is about to happen. These strict standards make prosecution of many cases of incitement impossible, even those advocating violent opposition to the government and this perpetrating violence against minorities. The United States, for instance has detained a computer expert Julian Assange over a series of allegations (Werhan, 2004). It is said that on the 28th of November 2010, WikiLeaks commenced to release some of the two hundred and fifty one thousand articles of American diplomatic cables. Fifty-three of the listed documents are unclassified, 40% of the cables are confidential, and only 6% are classified as secret.
The United States Department of Justice began an investigation connected with the leak. Prosecutors of the United States are considering allegations against Julian with regard to number laws but it is feared that any attempts of prosecution will be futile. In the WikiLeaks investigations, the department ordered social networks to free the information regarding Assange’s accounts. Some citizens like Daniel Ellsberg made a statement that Assange is working for supremacy of law by challenging the regulations of secrecy, since the regulations are not the laws in any part of the country.
Ellsberg further argued that Assange is a competent person. According to Ellsberg, the instincts of Assange are that the bigger part of the material needed to be released. On the matter of the United States security, Assange had not yet released anything that threatens anybody’s security in the United States (Anastaplo, 2007). In Assange’s statement to the London reporters, the computer expert mentioned that the cables showed that ambassadors of the United States worldwide were ordered to involve in spying behavior, which appeared to be an illustration of a staged transition to a state of lacking the supremacy of law in the United States. According to Assange, the institutions needed to be unmasked to the public and that was what WikiLeaks was trying to do.
The WikiLeaks cable of diplomatic revelations have enjoyed much applaud by the commentators, being a contributing factor to the revolution in Tunisia. The cables showed the corruption level in the ruling government. It is clear that there were rising food prices in Tunisia, too much corruption and high levels of unemployment. It is not wrong for WikiLeaks to reveal these social ills for people to compel authorities to bring change.
Assange’s work is commendable in other parts of the world. Hence, there is no reason for the United States to put him behind bars (Fowler, 2011). Assange has received awards including Amnesty International 2009 Media Award for Kenya. He has also been admitted as a journalist by the Centre of Investigative Journalism. In the month of February 2011, it was announced that Assange had been awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation’s Gold Medal by the Sydney Peace Foundation of the Sydney University. His winning of the university award was because of his brevity and initiative in search of human rights. Assange also won the Martha Gellihorn Prize for Journalism. The Prize is awarded annually to journalists whose work has penetrated the established version of happenings and communicated an unpalatable truth that reveals establishment of misinformation.
Assange also won the Sam Adams Award and became the runner-up for the person of the year among others. Julian Assange has been publishing factual material from the age of twenty-five years. His masterly work notwithstanding, Assange has received criticism with accusations of terrorism (Fowler, 2011). The United States Deputy President argued that the case of Assange is nearing a high-tech criminal than the papers of Pentagon.
During the year 2010 in May, Senate minority leader used the term “high-tech” terrorist to refer to Assange and said that he had done immense damage to the United States (Dutton, 2011). Actions by other governments have further proved that Assange is not guilty as accused by the United States. The Australian Government, for example, had considered charging Assange for treason, but afterwards retracted its statement that Assange was a criminal. The Government of Australia also found no basis to withdraw his Australian passport after investigations by the Australian Federal Police. Since then, the representatives of the government and the main opposition have made utterances supporting WikiLeaks and deprecated some threats.
The President of Brazil, also at one point, expressed solidarity with Assange following his arrest in 2010 in the United Kingdom. The President criticized the arrest and termed it as an attack on the right of freedom of idiom. Other key leaders like the Prime Minister of Russia have condemned Assange’s detention as undemocratic. Reliable sources within the Office of the Russian President, suggested that Assange had been nominated for a Nobel Prize. The source also said that the government and other non-governmental organizations should device means on how to help him.
The United Nation’s Distinctive Rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression, Frank LaRue, said that Assange or other staff of the WikiLeaks should not face any criminal charges for any information they produced. The representative noted that, if there is a responsibility by leaking of the information it is to be blamed on the person who made the leak and not the Media that publishes it. LaRue, further, stated that through dissemination of information nefarious practices like corruption have been confronted in several cases in the world (Wautischer, Helmut, Alan & Walters, Gregory, 2011).
The detention of Julian Assange for spreading National Security secrets of the U.S. and attempts to extradite him to the United States to continue quiet him contravenes the Constitution of freedom of speech. The support that Assange gets from all over the world supported by many awards proves that the United States has malicious interests against him and all the allegations are manipulated. It is obvious that the Government cannot enslave informed citizens and, therefore, it is justified for Assange to make these secrets public, so that citizens become aware of the Government operations. The people should not only consider the allegations made by the United States but also the views of other parties in the world in order to avoid wrong persuasion that stems from propaganda.