NOTE: This download expired May 31, 2019. See message below.
Released: Filed Under: NSDA Lincoln-Douglas
About "Free Speech"
This case, in essence, consists of you asking the judge why citizens should be compelled by their government to speak. After all, compelling speech is the same as controlling speech, and requiring the names of confidential sources to be released is the same as compelling speech. All done.
But wait, there’s more. You will need to acknowledge that there are exceptions to the First Amendment, but they are used sparingly and only to protect life or other rights. Causing a riot or inciting violence aren’t protected forms of speech, because they threaten the rights of others. Libel (spreading false information to destroy someone’s reputation) is illegal, because knowingly lying to harm another person is unacceptable.
Along the same vein, keeping sources confidential may preserve quality of live for thousands of people. It would be hard to speak to a reporter about corruption at your job if you knew your boss could identify you. It would be hard to share your experience as an ex-gang member if you knew your name would pop up on the gang’s radar. Keeping a source confidential is more often a protection for the source than for the journalist.
Remember that your opponent has an all-or-nothing stance thrust upon him. He has to argue that under no circumstances should reporters be allowed to use confidential sources. You, on the other hand, only need to argue that reporters should have the freedom to choose whether or not to disclose sources. In most cases, reporters do directly quote their sources. In some cases, reporters choose to keep anonymity for their sources. Since those reporters are on the ground, dealing with the people whose names that may need protecting, the reporters are best able to decide what to publish and what to withhold. Government policy is monolithic and clumsy, and it doesn’t make sense to let Washington dictate strategies to individual reporters.
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