The First Amendment liberties of free speech and free press help guarantee the free flow and information. More information leads to more knowledge. More knowledge leads to a better society.
I have always believed that the more truthful information available to the public, the greater society will be as a whole. People need information to make educated decisions in their daily life – from the economic choices one makes at the mall to the political choices one makes in the voting booth. Transparency is vital to the success of our nation.
Information is key to expanding upon existing ideologies. This nation has evolved on many social issues due to the prominence of more information. All views (within constitutional limits) should be given air to breath and a chance to rise to the top of national opinion. When dissenting or unpopular views are suppressed by the government, the public is not given the chance to make judgments for themselves. Instead, the government exercises thought control and tells society what it should or should not think. Suppression of protected speech harms the nation’s growth and infringes on individual autonomy.
I see the press as the Fourth Estate of our government, providing a check on the traditional trio of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The press serves as the nation’s watchdog, sniffing out corruption and keeping an eye on the powerful officials at the local, state, and federal level. With the rise of the Internet and technology, the role of helping foster transparency has been expanded beyond members of the established press to average citizens. As important as it is for traditional media to maintain freedoms, it’s also crucial for each citizen to have the freedom to share opinions, foster debate, and seek the truth.
Long live the First Amendment.