Regarding the simple idea of the government regulating all aspects of the media, I do not think this is the direction our nation should be headed in. Our nation is based on freedom of speech and other core values that allow us to speak out and promote individualism. This is something that I think should never be obolished through control of the media. However, I do think that the government should have the right to play a vital role in regulation of the media. I think that yes, the government should be allowed to exercise more power for prior restraint and to block publication of material it feels might hurt national security interests. This seems obvious! Protecting the rights and safety of national security should be in our nation’s best interest. Of course, it should also be in our best interest to express ourselves, but only to a certain extent. Blocking publication of something that may be harmful can be a necessary move to protect national security, and the government should have the green light to assess the matter. A difficulty in doing this may be argumentation on what exactly is material that could be threatening. This may cause a lot of controversy. Nonetheless, despite the controversy and differing points of view, I feel that the government should ultimately be able to control threatening or harmful publications in the media to keep our nations ideals and practices in place.
Even with the events of September 11, 2001 and the recent Wikileaks debacle, the United States government should not be allowed to exercise more control over the media than it presently can. Media regulation is an extremely slippery slope, especially in the eyes of Americans, who hold freedom of speech as one of the highest civil rights. If the government were to start censoring websites, such as Wikileaks, it would be a direct violation of the first amendment. I do not have any problem with the court martial of the private involved in the Wikileaks cables, because he essentially violated his contract of employment as a United States soldier. The area that draws question for me is when Julian Assange and Wikileaks are being targeted. This area of regulation is pretty new to me, but if laws have been broken by Assange, then these laws should be changed. Though these cables may have a detrimental effect on US Foreign Policy, the results will not be permanent, and we will certainly be able to rebound. The government should have no right to limit information that is true because it is damaging to foreign policy. I understand that no government is perfect, but if secrets must be hidden then they should be hidden extremely well.
As far as media regulation of obscenity and violence, I do agree with the government regulation currently in place. The media corporations should have some regulation so as to be held accountable to established standards of decency. Clearly these standards are dynamic and will change over time, but it is important to always have that standard.
In light of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001, I do believe that the government should have more power to exercise prior restraint and block publication of material it feels might hurt national security interests. We Americans do have freedom of speech. However, when a person or publication says something that can give out top-secret information or does something else that can harm the security of our nation, then the Amendment clearly should have an exception or two.
America has elevated its level of national security since the terrorist attacks, because we are doing everything that we can to prevent something so terrible from happening again. This example of prior restraint is similar to that of national security now: people often times will complain about how much more security there is at an airport now, but at the end of the day this added security is just keeping us safe. We do not want another catastrophe like September 11 to take place, so we should take the extra time and precautions to make sure that something like that definitely does not happen. With prior restraint, people can complain that this means that the First Amendment is not valid because there are exceptions to the rule with censoring speech. However, if the thing published was a threat to our nation as a whole, then there is no reason why it should not be censored. Prior restraint is another thing that can annoy many American citizens, but in the end it keeps us safe. Safety is our priority.
While prior restraint may be overused for things that are not a matter of national security, there are also times where it needs to be used because information has been leaked that can risk our safety. An example of this is back in 1971 when the New York Times Co. v. United States court case took place. In this, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that stopped the Times from publishing “The Pentagon Papers”, a top-secret study of US involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1979, a district court stopped The Progressive magazine (US v. Progressive) from publishing “The H-Bomb Secret.” These are examples of where the courts have ruled that freedom of speech is not an absolute, especially during times of war.
Difficulties in doing this are fighting against those who are truly passionate about the fact that the First Amendment should be read literally, and there should be no exceptions. Adopting this position would help keep the nation a little bit safer, but it also would bring an outburst from the people who disagree with the decision to use prior restraint. There are definitely obstacles, but the pros certainly outweigh the cons. Therefore the government should take precaution and use prior restraint, so that we are better safe than sorry.
The debate on national security vs personal freedom is one that has raged for as long as there have been nations to protect and citizens to exercise what freedoms they have been granted. One need only to look beyond their national borders to see that there are as many differing opinions on what level is appropriate as there are nations to set those levels.
Put simply, I do NOT think that the U.S. government should have any additional power to exercise prior restraint than it already has. I don’t feel that the events of 9/11 have much relevance as to whether or not the U.S. government should have additional or less power to exercise prior restraint. More than anything, I feel that 9/11 is merely used as an excuse and isn’t even the real issue here.
From an ideological perspective, I do not support government restriction of citizen rights beyond a certain basic necessary level. People tend to act in their own self interest. This is true of organizations, regardless of type, just the same. At the base level, organizations are just collections of people. These people will tend to act in their own self interest just the same. As has been demonstrated through the years in the courts, the government officials have repeatedly attempted to abuse their positions and exercise prior restraint on those news stories that would damage them personally and professionally. Whether it be Pentagon Papers, which detailed the U.S government’s involvement and deception in the Vietnam war, or any of the other host of examples, it has been clearly shown time and time again that government officials have attempted to abuse their powers to protect their personal position, or to merely suppress information, rather than truly act in the national self interest. If the U.S. examples do not provide a strong enough impact, one merely needs to look at what has occurred in foreign countries such as Iran or Russia to see what can occur where less safeguards are in place.
I do not necessarily feel that the government needs to have less power than it does now, so I can’t say there would be any difficulty in maintaining the status quo. The government is currently trying to increase what power it has to exercise prior restraint. Thus, some difficulty could be encountered even just maintaining the government’s current level of power, as this goes against current trends.
There are two possible outcomes in the case of leaving the government’s power where it is today. Outcome one is that everything stays as it is and the government has some, but not extensive, power to exercise prior restraint. Outcome two, and the one the current and the previous administrations are proponents of, is that the government will have it’s ability to combat terrorism and pursue criminals severely diminished without increased power as of a result of new means of communication, such as the proliferation of the internet and its various services. One need only to look at the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty, that the U.S. is trying to strong arm the international community into signing, to see where they stand. Perhaps most telling of the direction the government is moving is their reaction to requests from the public for the release of the details of the treaty which they had desperately been trying to conceal. From CNET, “Both the Obama administration and the Bush administration had rejected requests from civil libertarians and technologists for the text of ACTA, with the White House last year even indicating that disclosure would do ‘damage to the national security.'” Full text can be found here: Link~
In short, I only see negative implications should the government be grated any additional power in exercising prior restraint and cannot sanction any move in such a direction.
Media is an ever-present aspect of the modern lifestyle. It also seems that more and more acts of terrorism and violence are taking place since the growth of communications through mass media outlets has taken off. These things are not necessarily connected, however, the way in that events are portrayed in the media do impact the security of the nation.
Even though there is the first amendment that allows for the freedom of speech, the government does have the right to censor what the media puts out there. The concept of clear and present danger is intended to protect the nation when potentially damaging media can be distributed. The government has that right because it is trying to protect and maintain the current state of being, and negative or damaging media may create an uprising, which in turn can be dangerous. By letting the government mildly regulate what is distributed across the waves of media attacks both international and nationally can be prevented, or handled in the best way possible.
I would say that currently the amount of regulation is what works the best. Much more and it may become overbearing. The current restrictions on the media outlets still allows for a flow of important information, yet it also protects the nation from potentially damaging news. Although the first amendment advocates for the freedom of speech, it does need to be monitored in a slight way to ensure safety. More moderation by the government would be restricting our rights as American citizens, and in turn the United States could experience what happened to Russia in the example in the book.
As of now the nation is doing its best to keep the citizens informed and safe, and so far it seems to be working relatively smoothly.
In light of the attacks on September 11th, I think the US government should be allowed to block publication of material. Many people would disagree with me on this, saying that allowing this would only segue into less free speech. Allowing the government to control what is published on the Internet would, undoubtedly, lessen free speech, but it would also protect national security. Which would you rather protect: free speech or American lives?
Wikileaks is another good example of my point. The release of these government document was extremely dangerous for our nation’s security, and the government has every right to censor and remove them. The documents detail our nation’s response plans, opinions on other countries, and much more. These documents should not be made available to the public, because it severely threatens American lives. If a terrorist organization uses these Wikileaks to attack us, and knows our response plans, then we are not safe. Our nation’s safety should come before the release of sensitive documents. The government has a right to keep certain matters secret; they already keep many terrorist threats that they foil every day secret to prevent national terror. They should be allowed to keep these government documents secrets as well.
In light of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, I believe that the U.S. government should have more power to exercise prior restraint and block the publication of material it feels may hurt national security interests. I believe so because it is our government’s duty to protect our nation, and if they believe something is harmful or may cause harm, I believe they have the right to withhold or block that information. Some of the difficulties that may arise due to this withholding of certain material first include keeping certain information concealed, and respecting the citizen’s right to know what government officials are up to. So often, confidential information gets leaked to the public, often causing a scare due to the media’s twist on things, or lack of supporting or background information that explains the reason behind the actions. Especially with our current technology, it is easier than ever to publish information to the masses, risking the possibility of it getting in the wrong hands. As for citizens feeling like their right to free speech is being limited, I completely understand that. However, while I am a true supporter of the first amendment, I still think that some things may be detrimental to our nation’s security and therefore should be withheld. It is important to look at the big picture in circumstances like this. One of the positive outcomes I believe will result from the government taking my position is that the U.S. will be protected from both inside and outside threats. With citizens feeling more secure, they can go about their daily lives without the over looming fear that we are essentially always on “high alert.” On the other hand, one of the negative outcomes that may result from this new form of running the government is that people may begin to feel a sense of resentment. People already exude this feeling, especially with regard to new TSA restrictions. Many feel that the extra security precautions that are in place in airports now are inconvenient and unnecessary. While I understand their side and share the same feelings at times, I believe that the extra pat-downs—as awkward as they may be—are worth my safety. Ultimately, the same goes for the government’s withholding of certain information. If it’s going to protect me in the long run, I’m all for it…to a certain degree, of course. But what that means is still a little foggy.