Does National Security Override Free Speech? Essay

1355 Words Apr 23rd, 2015 6 Pages
Does national security override free speech? In the case of Snowden, Manning and Assange, they each leaked classified documents to the public under the name of free speech. Is this actually classified as free speech? According to J.S Mills, if it doesn’t cause physical harm to a populace, then it is classified as ‘free speech’ and so the leakage of government documents is allowed in accordance to Mills’ theory on free speech. Mills does not include psychological harm to anyone in his definition of free speech which also brings forth flaws in his definition of free speech. National security is defined as a defence and protection of a country from foreign countries. A government is obliged to protect the population of their country. Free speech should override national security. Secrets should not be kept from the populace, and especially ones which Snowden, Manning and Assange leaked. Although, in terms of breaking contracts and potentially bringing harm to a country, the act of freedom of speech overriding national security can be debateable.

Freedom is believed to just be a political value, but is it just that? Freedom is defined as ‘the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants’ and Mills believes that by preventing someone from crossing a dangerous bridge, it is an infringement on their liberty as it is against their desires. Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning all released top secret information to the public under the words of Free speech.…

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