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Essays About Freedom: 5 Helpful Examples and 7 Prompts

Freedom seems simple at first; however, it is quite a nuanced topic at a closer glance. If you are writing essays about freedom, read our guide of essay examples and writing prompts.

In a world where we constantly hear about violence, oppression, and war, few things are more important than freedom. It is the ability to act, speak, or think what we want without being controlled or subjected. It can be considered the gateway to achieving our goals, as we can take the necessary steps. 

However, freedom is not always “doing whatever we want.” True freedom means to do what is righteous and reasonable, even if there is the option to do otherwise. Moreover, freedom must come with responsibility; this is why laws are in place to keep society orderly but not too micro-managed, to an extent.

5 Examples of Essays About Freedom

1. essay on “freedom” by pragati ghosh, 2. acceptance is freedom by edmund perry, 3. reflecting on the meaning of freedom by marquita herald.

  • 4.  Authentic Freedom by Wilfred Carlson

5. What are freedom and liberty? by Yasmin Youssef

1. what is freedom, 2. freedom in the contemporary world, 3. is freedom “not free”, 4. moral and ethical issues concerning freedom, 5. freedom vs. security, 6. free speech and hate speech, 7. an experience of freedom.

“Freedom is non denial of our basic rights as humans. Some freedom is specific to the age group that we fall into. A child is free to be loved and cared by parents and other members of family and play around. So this nurturing may be the idea of freedom to a child. Living in a crime free society in safe surroundings may mean freedom to a bit grown up child.”

In her essay, Ghosh briefly describes what freedom means to her. It is the ability to live your life doing what you want. However, she writes that we must keep in mind the dignity and freedom of others. One cannot simply kill and steal from people in the name of freedom; it is not absolute. She also notes that different cultures and age groups have different notions of freedom. Freedom is a beautiful thing, but it must be exercised in moderation. 

“They demonstrate that true freedom is about being accepted, through the scenarios that Ambrose Flack has written for them to endure. In The Strangers That Came to Town, the Duvitches become truly free at the finale of the story. In our own lives, we must ask: what can we do to help others become truly free?”

Perry’s essay discusses freedom in the context of Ambrose Flack’s short story The Strangers That Came to Town : acceptance is the key to being free. When the immigrant Duvitch family moved into a new town, they were not accepted by the community and were deprived of the freedom to live without shame and ridicule. However, when some townspeople reach out, the Duvitches feel empowered and relieved and are no longer afraid to go out and be themselves. 

“Freedom is many things, but those issues that are often in the forefront of conversations these days include the freedom to choose, to be who you truly are, to express yourself and to live your life as you desire so long as you do not hurt or restrict the personal freedom of others. I’ve compiled a collection of powerful quotations on the meaning of freedom to share with you, and if there is a single unifying theme it is that we must remember at all times that, regardless of where you live, freedom is not carved in stone, nor does it come without a price.”

In her short essay, Herald contemplates on freedom and what it truly means. She embraces her freedom and uses it to live her life to the fullest and to teach those around her. She values freedom and closes her essay with a list of quotations on the meaning of freedom, all with something in common: freedom has a price. With our freedom, we must be responsible. You might also be interested in these essays about consumerism .

4.   Authentic Freedom by Wilfred Carlson

“Freedom demands of one, or rather obligates one to concern ourselves with the affairs of the world around us. If you look at the world around a human being, countries where freedom is lacking, the overall population is less concerned with their fellow man, then in a freer society. The same can be said of individuals, the more freedom a human being has, and the more responsible one acts to other, on the whole.”

Carlson writes about freedom from a more religious perspective, saying that it is a right given to us by God. However, authentic freedom is doing what is right and what will help others rather than simply doing what one wants. If freedom were exercised with “doing what we want” in mind, the world would be disorderly. True freedom requires us to care for others and work together to better society. 

“In my opinion, the concepts of freedom and liberty are what makes us moral human beings. They include individual capacities to think, reason, choose and value different situations. It also means taking individual responsibility for ourselves, our decisions and actions. It includes self-governance and self-determination in combination with critical thinking, respect, transparency and tolerance. We should let no stone unturned in the attempt to reach a state of full freedom and liberty, even if it seems unrealistic and utopic.”

Youssef’s essay describes the concepts of freedom and liberty and how they allow us to do what we want without harming others. She notes that respect for others does not always mean agreeing with them. We can disagree, but we should not use our freedom to infringe on that of the people around us. To her, freedom allows us to choose what is good, think critically, and innovate. 

7 Prompts for Essays About Freedom

Essays About Freedom: What is freedom?

Freedom is quite a broad topic and can mean different things to different people. For your essay, define freedom and explain what it means to you. For example, freedom could mean having the right to vote, the right to work, or the right to choose your path in life. Then, discuss how you exercise your freedom based on these definitions and views. 

The world as we know it is constantly changing, and so is the entire concept of freedom. Research the state of freedom in the world today and center your essay on the topic of modern freedom. For example, discuss freedom while still needing to work to pay bills and ask, “Can we truly be free when we cannot choose with the constraints of social norms?” You may compare your situation to the state of freedom in other countries and in the past if you wish. 

A common saying goes like this: “Freedom is not free.” Reflect on this quote and write your essay about what it means to you: how do you understand it? In addition, explain whether you believe it to be true or not, depending on your interpretation. 

Many contemporary issues exemplify both the pros and cons of freedom; for example, slavery shows the worst when freedom is taken away, while gun violence exposes the disadvantages of too much freedom. First, discuss one issue regarding freedom and briefly touch on its causes and effects. Then, be sure to explain how it relates to freedom. 

Some believe that more laws curtail the right to freedom and liberty. In contrast, others believe that freedom and regulation can coexist, saying that freedom must come with the responsibility to ensure a safe and orderly society. Take a stand on this issue and argue for your position, supporting your response with adequate details and credible sources. 

Many people, especially online, have used their freedom of speech to attack others based on race and gender, among other things. Many argue that hate speech is still free and should be protected, while others want it regulated. Is it infringing on freedom? You decide and be sure to support your answer adequately. Include a rebuttal of the opposing viewpoint for a more credible argumentative essay. 

For your essay, you can also reflect on a time you felt free. It could be your first time going out alone, moving into a new house, or even going to another country. How did it make you feel? Reflect on your feelings, particularly your sense of freedom, and explain them in detail. 

Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays .If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips !

what is freedom for you in essay

Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.

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Freedom Essay for Students and Children

500+ words essay on freedom.

Freedom is something that everybody has heard of but if you ask for its meaning then everyone will give you different meaning. This is so because everyone has a different opinion about freedom. For some freedom means the freedom of going anywhere they like, for some it means to speak up form themselves, and for some, it is liberty of doing anything they like.

Freedom Essay

Meaning of Freedom

The real meaning of freedom according to books is. Freedom refers to a state of independence where you can do what you like without any restriction by anyone. Moreover, freedom can be called a state of mind where you have the right and freedom of doing what you can think off. Also, you can feel freedom from within.

The Indian Freedom

Indian is a country which was earlier ruled by Britisher and to get rid of these rulers India fight back and earn their freedom. But during this long fight, many people lost their lives and because of the sacrifice of those people and every citizen of the country, India is a free country and the world largest democracy in the world.

Moreover, after independence India become one of those countries who give his citizen some freedom right without and restrictions.

The Indian Freedom Right

India drafted a constitution during the days of struggle with the Britishers and after independence it became applicable. In this constitution, the Indian citizen was given several fundaments right which is applicable to all citizen equally. More importantly, these right are the freedom that the constitution has given to every citizen.

These right are right to equality, right to freedom, right against exploitation, right to freedom of religion¸ culture and educational right, right to constitutional remedies, right to education. All these right give every freedom that they can’t get in any other country.

Value of Freedom

The real value of anything can only be understood by those who have earned it or who have sacrificed their lives for it. Freedom also means liberalization from oppression. It also means the freedom from racism, from harm, from the opposition, from discrimination and many more things.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Freedom does not mean that you violate others right, it does not mean that you disregard other rights. Moreover, freedom means enchanting the beauty of nature and the environment around us.

The Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is the most common and prominent right that every citizen enjoy. Also, it is important because it is essential for the all-over development of the country.

Moreover, it gives way to open debates that helps in the discussion of thought and ideas that are essential for the growth of society.

Besides, this is the only right that links with all the other rights closely. More importantly, it is essential to express one’s view of his/her view about society and other things.

To conclude, we can say that Freedom is not what we think it is. It is a psychological concept everyone has different views on. Similarly, it has a different value for different people. But freedom links with happiness in a broadway.

FAQs on Freedom

Q.1 What is the true meaning of freedom? A.1 Freedom truly means giving equal opportunity to everyone for liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Q.2 What is freedom of expression means? A.2 Freedom of expression means the freedom to express one’s own ideas and opinions through the medium of writing, speech, and other forms of communication without causing any harm to someone’s reputation.

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Lifestyle & Interests — Freedom

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Freedom Essays

My understanding of the freedom of choice, freedom for the people: the possible speech of mary warren, made-to-order essay as fast as you need it.

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Freedom and The Demand by Minorities in "I Have a Dream", "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and Persepolis 2"

The complex concept of freedom in paradise lost, the issue of definition of modern freedom, the fight for freedom in "my children my africa" by athol fugard, let us write you an essay from scratch.

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Freedom and Confinement in Trifles by Susan Glaspell

Protecting rights and freedoms of each member of the us society, the idea of freedom from chris mccandless, freedom from enlightenment and connecting to modern day , get a personalized essay in under 3 hours.

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Concept of Freedom and Will in American Literature

Freedom of the press in india, jean-michel basquiat and norman rockwell: the value of freedom, defining aspects of being an american, individuality: lead the way or follow it, free choice as the soul of the human race, the violation of freedom of speech in north korea, theme of freedom in how it feels to be colored me and song of myself, human rights and fights to attend it throughout history, the idea of freedom in elysium and 1984, the multiple interpretation of concept of freedom in "incidents in the life of a slave girl", civil liberties and civil rights in america, differing views on freedom in arendt and marx's works, craving for freedom in the lady chatterley's lover, tragedy of freedom in a commons, analysis of the shared relationship between ‘the press’ and ‘liberty’, understanding freedom in a house for mr. biswas, a future free of racism is true freedom, liberty vs. equality debate: 'equality' marginalizes people, net neutrality: freedom vs order, relevant topics.

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what is freedom for you in essay

  • Essay On Freedom

Freedom Essay

500+ words essay on freedom.

We are all familiar with the word ‘freedom’, but you will hear different versions from different people if you ask about it. The definition of freedom varies from person to person. According to some people, freedom means doing something as per their wish; for some people, it means taking a stand for themselves. Ultimately, the fact is that every individual wants to be free and lead their life as per their choice.

Freedom Meaning

Freedom is all about a state of independence where individuals can do what they want without any restrictions. We inherit freedom from the day we are born. It is a quality that each individual possesses. Freedom is a feeling that is felt from within. It can also be defined as a state of mind where you have the right to do what you can think of. The concept of freedom is applied to different aspects of life, and it’s not an absolute term.

All societies describe freedom in their aspect. People of different cultures see freedom in different ways, and accordingly, they enjoy their freedom. We should remember that our freedom should not disregard the rights of others. As good human beings, we should respect others’ freedom and not just live freely. We have to consider the rights and the feelings of people around us when living our freedom.

Creative minds flourish in societies that encourage freedom of opinion, thoughts, beliefs, expression, choice, etc.

Indian Freedom Struggle

The Indian freedom struggle is one of the most significant progress in the history of India. In 1600, the Britishers entered India in the name of trade-specific items like tea, cotton and silk and started ruling our country. Later on, they started ruling our country and made our Indian people their slaves. So, our country has to face the most challenging times to gain independence from British rule. In 1857, the first movement against the British was initiated by Mangal Pandey, an Indian soldier.

India also started various movements against the Britishers to get independence from their rule. One of them includes the Civil Disobedience Movement that started against the British salt monopoly. India could not manufacture salt and had to buy it from the British people by paying huge sums.

After we gained independence, India became one country that gave its citizens some freedom with limited restrictions. Now, India is a free country and the world’s largest democracy.

Freedom of India

During the days of struggle with the Britishers, India drafted a Constitution, which became applicable after independence. Our Constitution provides several freedom rights relevant to all Indian citizens equally. More importantly, these rights are constitutionally equal to every citizen.

Our constitutional rights are the right to equality, freedom, right against exploitation, freedom of religion, culture and educational rights, and right to constitutional remedies.

Importance of Freedom

We can understand the actual value of something when we achieve or earn it by sacrificing our lives. Freedom also means liberalisation from oppression, freedom from racism, opposition, discrimination, and other relatable things. Freedom doesn’t allow us to violate and disregard others’ rights.

The Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech is one of the fundamental human rights of an Indian citizen. An individual can convey his emotions, needs, and wants through speech. For a healthy democracy, the right to freedom of speech is essential for the citizens. The framers of the Constitution knew the importance of this right and declared this a Fundamental Right of every Indian citizen. The Constitution of India guarantees the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1)(a). It entitles every citizen to express an opinion without fearing repression by the Government.

Conclusion of the Freedom Essay

At last, we can sum it up by saying that freedom is not what we think. It is a concept, and everybody has their opinions about it. If we see the idea of freedom more broadly, it is connected with happiness. Similarly, it has added value for other people.

Students of the CBSE Board can get essays based on different topics, such as Republic Day Essay , from BYJU’S website. They can visit our CBSE Essay page and learn more about essays.

Frequently Asked Questions on Freedom Essay

What were the slogans used during the indian struggle for freedom.

Slogans used during the Indian independence movement include ‘Karo ya Maro’ (Do or die), ‘Inqlaab Zindabad’ (Long live the Revolution) and ‘Vande Mataram’ (Praise to Motherland)

What is the meaning of freedom?

In simple words, freedom means the ability to act or change without constraint and also possess the power to fulfil one’s resources.

What are examples of freedom?

Even the act of letting a bird out of the cage is an example of freedom. A woman regaining her independence after ending a controlling or abusive marriage is another instance of freedom achieved.

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  • Freedom Essay

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What is Freedom?

If we ever wonder what freedom is, we can look around and see the birds flying high up in the sky. While we in the land work in order to get something, we are actually captivated by that invisible power of want. The former indicates what freedom is while the latter indicates slavery. Well, this is a philosophical justification of what we mean about the term ‘freedom’. The real meaning of freedom is the state of independence where one can do whatever one likes without any restriction by anyone. Moreover, freedom is defined as the state of mind where we have the right and are free to do what we can think of. The main emphasis of freedom is we need to feel freedom from within.

Freedom is a very common term everybody has heard of but if you ask for its exact definition or meaning then it will differ from person to person. For some Freedom may mean the Freedom of going anywhere in the world they would like, for some it means to speak up for themselves and stay independent and positive, and for some, it is the liberty of doing anything whatever they like.

Thus Freedom cannot be contained and given a specific meaning. It differs from every culture, city, and individual. But Freedom in any language or any form totally depends on how any particular person handles the situation and it largely shows the true character of someone.

Different Types of Freedom

Freedom differs from person to person and from every different situation one faces. Hence Freedom can be classified as

Freedom of association.

Freedom of belief.

Freedom of speech.

Freedom to express oneself.

Freedom of the press.

Freedom to choose one's state in life.

Freedom of religion.

Freedom from bondage and slavery.

The list can even continue because every individual's wish and perspective differ.

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FAQs on Freedom Essay

1. What is democracy?

Democracy can be defined as - "a government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system". Also, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Democracy is such a form of government where the rulers are being elected by the people. The single chief factor that is common to all democracies is that the government is chosen by the people. The non-democratic government can be the example of Myanmar, where the rulers are not elected by the people.

2. Why is freedom important in our life?

Freedom is very important as this gives us the right to be ourselves, and this helps to work together after maintaining autonomy. Freedom is quite important as the opposite is detrimental to our own well-being and which is inconsistent with our nature.

Freedom is a necessary ingredient for the pursuit of happiness for an individual. Freedom also may be negative or positive – freedom from the constraints on our choices and actions, and the freedom to grow, in order to determine who and what we are.

3. What do you mean by ‘Right to Freedom of Religion’?

We all have the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and also religion. This right includes the freedom to change our religion or belief. We can change our religion either alone or in community with others in public or in private, to manifest this religion or the belief, in worship, in teaching also in practice and observance.

4. Why is Freedom essential in everyone's life?

Freedom is a space or condition in which people will have the sole opportunity to speak, act and pursue their own happiness without unnecessary or any external restrictions which may even involve their own parents, friends, or siblings. Literally no one has the right to get involved in someone else’s life and try to fit in their opinion. Freedom is really important in everyone's life because it leads to enhanced expressions of creativity and original thought, increased productivity in their own view, and overall high quality of life. 

5. What does real Freedom actually look like?

Real Freedom is being able to do what you want and whenever you want without someone actually getting involved in your life, being duty and responsibility-free but that doesn't mean being unemployed and this means Freedom to choose your own career and working in your own space with full acknowledgment not really bothered by what other people think, being careless but not being irresponsible about whatever happens in your life by taking full control of your life in your hands, being Spiritually Free is definitely another form of Freedom from certain beliefs and superstitions and finally having enough money to enjoy your life in your taste is the most important form of Freedom.

6. Is Freedom a better option always in every situation?

It is definitely a no because we Indians are brought up in that way that we always tend to be dependent or rely on someone for at least one particular thing in our life. Because we tend to make mistakes and make wrong decisions when we are in an emotional state, hence it is good to have one soul you might go back to often when you are confused. Our parents have brought us up in a way where we are expected to meet certain family standards and social standards so we are bound to get tied under some family emotions most of the time. But it is necessary to decide what is good for you in the end.

7. What does the feeling of finally enjoying Freedom look like?

You will have an ample amount of energy for desiring and taking the required action, and you will finally move whole-heartedly towards your own decision. You feel happy with the Freedom of just existing on this earth itself. You think your individuality has value now among both family and society. It's important that you do not just have the right to do what you want but can also choose happiness over adjustments and don't do what you actually do not want.

8. Why is Freedom of Expression more important than anything else?

Freedom of Expression is the most important human right which is essential for a society to be democratic and equal in serving both men and women or anyone. It enables the free exchange of ideas, opinions, and information and thus allows members of society to form their own opinions on issues of public importance but not only public opinion but also regarding families or any relationship for that matter. Expressing what one feels or what they actually go through is absolutely their own right which no one can ever deny.

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Use our free Readability checker

It is hard to find an assignment duller than writing an essay. A freedom essay was my last task that I had performed thanks to lots of online sources and examples given on the Internet. How did I cope with it? I can share my plan of actions with you and I hope it will help to save your time and efforts. When I was a child there was a movie called “Braveheart”. Maybe you haven’t heard of it but people around me adored that cool epic war film with Mel Gibson . There was an episode when during horrible tortures Mel screamed “Freedom!” I thought that he had gone out of his mind. What was the point of being free and fighting for rights when you wouldn’t have a chance to live? When I got the task I decided to watch the whole movie and finally understood that our freedom really matters. That’s why firstly I started to look for the definition of the word “freedom”. I think that the primary thing is to find out what your topic means because if you don’t understand the meaning of the “freedom” concept, you’d hardly succeed. So, freedom is a state of mind, it is a right to make a choice, to be yourself. It depends on many things - the epoch and the culture. I’ve chosen several definitions of the word “freedom”– the philosophical, the psychological and the juridical. I considered my essay just a story. It simplifies the task. I imagined that I had to tell a story, that my assignment wasn’t retelling the collected information. It should be a story on the topic “Freedom”.  

Don’t Forget About Boring Rules Which Steal Your Freedom

I wondered why a student hates academic writing. When I had written my first essay I realized why people hate coping with it. My personal experience showed that I didn’t like to write essays because of the following reasons:

  • It’s hard to concentrate on the topic when you don’t like or even don’t understand it. Firstly, my tutor didn’t allow me to choose the theme to discuss and I had to squeeze ideas from nowhere.
  • Tutors ask to write about the things THEY want. That’s a horrible mistake because a person has no chance to choose and get creative. There is no freedom.
  • I tried to get an “A” instead of writing something really qualitative and interesting.
  • The topic wasn’t catchy and I wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible.
  • I wanted to post my pictures on Instagram more than to deal with the paper.
  • I HAD to follow someone’s rules. Format, style, number of pages and words and a great number of other things irritate greatly.

I decided to find the right method of approach. I think that when a person takes a task as something pleasant, not just a duty, it will be much easier to cope with it.

Helpful Tips on Writing a Successful Freedom Essay

I decided to work out my rules which would help to write freely and not fear the task. Here they are! Think that it’s not an essay - just a blog story on freedom. I feel good when posting something. I share my ideas and get rid of the pressure. People love blog stories about freedom. So, imagine that you just develop your website.  

  • Love what you do. Writing about freedom may be funny and bring much pleasure. Find the idea and highlight it the way you want.
  • Your opinion matters much. You are not to agree with everyone. Rebel and be original. If something about the topic “freedom” surprises you, it can surprise everyone.
  • Don’t limit yourself. I never depend on one source and don’t stick to one point. First, I investigate the topic and read the FAQ which concerns my essay to get different points of view. I never force myself to write at least something. I take a rest when I need it and write what I love because that’s MY essay.
  • Quote and respect somebody’s idea. And be sure that you know how to quote a quote . Tutors appreciate when students sound logical and clever. Quotes are not always good. It’s better to get ideas and rewrite them by adding your own opinion. “When I do something I do it for my country and don’t wait for the appraisal.” Sounds familiar? Yes! I just rewrote the idea taken from Kennedy’s speech. That’s how freedom quotes should be paraphrased.
  • Start with theme essay outline . Continue writing the body and then write the intro and the conclusion. I write the body of my freedom essay, investigate and improve it. I see the strongest point and present it in the intro and highlight it in my freedom essay conclusion. Once I tried to begin with the introduction soon found out that my essay had stronger ideas and, as a result, I had to delete it and write the new one.
  • Your writing is your freedom - enjoy it. I don’t like to measure myself. If I have something to say right now, I write it. It can be a single sentence or a paragraph. Later I insert it into my essay. I don’t always have time to finish the paper at once. I can write it for many days. One day I feel great and creative and the other day I feel terrible and don’t touch the keyboard. Inspiration is essential.
  • Don’t deal with taboo issues. Clichés and too complicated language spoil the paper. One more thing to remember is avoiding plagiarism. Once a friend of mine had copied a passage from the work and his paper was banned. I am unique, you are unique, and the freedom essay must be unique as well.
  • Learn the topic properly. It’s important to find the topic captivating for the society and for you. Freedom is not a limited topic and there are a number of variations.

Below are some topics offered by our creative title generator for essay :

  • Freedom of conscience
  • Freedom of worship
  • Freedom in choosing
  • Freedom of action
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Free people.

Now you can see that freedom can be different. Freedom is a part of the human life and you can describe it in different ways.

Freedom of Speech Essay Sample

It’s not easy to write a freedom of speech essay because freedom of speech doesn’t exist. Freedom is an illusion and our politicians try to serve freedom as a main course. People pay much attention to each word being afraid that social networks will ban their “freedom” paper. Every online website must keep within laws that our government creates. Why do people speak of freedom of the press and other freedom issues?

First of all, it’s necessary to find out what the word “freedom” means. According to the thesaurus, freedom is the power or right to act, think, and speak the way one wants. Its synonym is the word “liberty” that deals with “independence” and “sovereignty”. Freedom of speech is the ability to express ideas, beliefs, complaints, and grudges freely. The government mustn’t punish people who said something wrong or present information without supporting it with facts. Do we really have such freedom? The problem is that freedom of speech doesn’t exist alone and cannot be limitless. If you lie, you deprive a person of the right to live normally. If you publish the harsh truth, you can harm someone innocent and spoil somebody’s freedom. Do you really think that you read and hear 100% verified news on TV, radio, social networks, and printed sources? There is always someone behind it. The team of editors corrects everything they don’t like; they can even refuse to publish the announcement at all. There are only a few bloggers who share the truth and don’t decorate it with beautiful words and nice pictures. Still, some countries try to make everything possible to let people speak without limitations and strict censorship. The first country that provided people with the freedom of speech was Ancient Greece. Everybody could express themselves and say both positive and negative issues about policy, country, and other people. The United States of America introduced the First Amendment that declared the right of Americans to discuss things openly. Though, not all types of speech freedom are protected by the law. It’s forbidden to humiliate somebody, post defamation, threat somebody, publish works that are absolutely not unique and spread the material that contains child pornography or other similar issues. Provocative publications or those which aim us to make somebody violate a law belong to the category of unprotected speeches. Freedom of speech is a part of democracy. Unfortunately, not all democratic countries let their citizens express their thoughts the way they want and need. As long as there are such countries we cannot speak about the notion of absolute freedom of speech.

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Why Freedom Is Important (Fully Explained)

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on Published: April 27, 2022  - Last updated: July 4, 2023

Categories Society , Culture , History , Leadership , Self Improvement

What’s freedom, and why is it so important? In short, freedom is the ability to make decisions for ourselves. We’re free to think and speak our minds, to choose our path in life, and to associate with anyone we want. This allows us to be individuals and create our own unique life. That’s why freedom is such a basic human right – without it, we couldn’t truly be ourselves. And that would be a pretty bleak world indeed.

Benefits Of Freedom

Freedom is one of the most essential things in the world. It makes us human and is something we should all value.

If you’re wondering why freedom is so important, here are some of the benefits that come with freedom :

  • You have a fundamental natural right to be who you want.
  • Freedom is important for a long, happy life.
  • Freedom allows you to make your own choices.
  • Freedom gives you the right to free expression.
  • You have a right to be free from discrimination.

Freedom Is About Trust

Free will is the ability to act intuitively, or in other words, to act without external compulsion. People are free when they can develop in the best way for them.

Why is this so important?

Well, it’s quite simple: it’s necessary to trust. Trust is a key element of leadership and life in general.

For example, you need your team’s trust if you want them to believe in you as a leader and, more importantly, strive toward the goals you set for yourself and the company. You can best build your employees’ trust by giving them freedom (as long as it’s handled well).

The same is true for yourself: To trust yourself, you need freedom. Freedom allows us to try new things and make mistakes to learn and grow from our experiences.

We Are Free To Follow Our Path

We’re free to choose and go our own way in life. It’s this freedom to choose that makes us who we’re today.

Each human being has a uniquely personal path, and it’s our responsibility to follow it. It’s up to you to decide what you want to do, what you want to be, where you want to go, and how you want to live.

The most important thing is that YOU make these decisions yourself; they shouldn’t be made by someone else! You have the freedom of choice!

You have the freedom of choice because we all have different interests and desires; therefore, no one can tell another person what to do with their life or how to live it! For society to survive and thrive, it needs diverse views and opinions on issues such as religion, politics, economics, etc.

So don’t let anyone pressure you. Remember that just because someone has a different worldview than you doesn’t mean theirs isn’t valid!

Freedom Is Important For Happiness

Freedom is important for our happiness because it allows us to make choices that make us happy, make mistakes, and learn from them.

So our happiness depends on how we feel about our choices and continue to make in life.

Freedom allows people to make choices that they’re proud of. This makes them happier because they know they’ve earned happiness through their free will. For some people, the most crucial thing will be economic freedom; for others, free speech will matter more.

Everyone wants to be proud of the choices they’ve made in life. It’s an encouraging feeling when you realize that you’re exactly where you want to be in life because of the choices you made for yourself along the way.

The Things That Give a Sense of Self-Worth and Freedom

The close friends around you, the job you enjoy doing every day, the promotions or awards at work – all these things give you a sense of self-worth and pride because you achieved them with your own hands.

These feelings cannot be reproduced if you live a controlled lifestyle where almost everything is dictated by others. This leaves no room for personal growth or choices, leading to dissatisfaction because there will always be something missing if you never had the chance to create it yourself.

Moreover, freedom not only gives people the opportunity to make choices but also to make mistakes. We need them to grow into mature adults who can successfully navigate difficult situations with their newly acquired knowledge and experience from past mistakes.

Without mistakes, we’d never learn from them and therefore do nothing to correct them. This means that what’s been done wrong will continue until someone else steps in or until it self-destructs (e.g., a business model) because of its incessant mistakes.

The bottom line is that freedom helps make us happier because it allows us to make choices that make us happy.

Social And Non-Social Freedom

In the social or collective sense, freedom means that a person is free to participate in building and shaping his or her world. This can include political, religious, professional, artistic, and other groups, organizations, and institutions.

Freedom in this context is synonymous with individual freedom:

  • The power to decide whether or not to belong.
  • The power to be oneself without fear of exclusion.
  • The power to express oneself as one sees fit.
  • The power to pursue happiness on your terms when others have the same opportunities.

Freedoms We Take For Granted

From a purely personal perspective, there are many freedoms that we often take for granted. You can choose where you live, what you eat, and who your friends are. You are also free to be yourself and express yourself as you see fit.

You can pursue your passions in life and be independent of others.

You can do whatever you want on any given day or evening, within reason, of course. You can get up early or sleep in; make breakfast or skip it; exercise or do nothing at all; go out with friends or stay home alone and watch TV; be serious or act silly – all without bowing to the demands of others. This kind of social freedom helps people feel authentic in their own lives.

The freedom to create also falls into the category of non-social freedoms because it doesn’t usually require the participation of other people.

Generally, it’s an individual activity that most people believe has value beyond money because it promotes self-actualization and positively contributes to society.

Freedom Is An Integrity Issue

As the saying goes, “Freedom isn’t free.”

Nowhere is this more evident than in the human spirit. Each of us deeply desires to be who or what he or she uniquely is. This is our birthright and should never be compromised by others – or ourselves.

Freedom Begins at Home

This pursuit of freedom begins at home, where we’re taught how to think about ourselves and others – and how to behave if we want to continue to receive love and acceptance from those closest to us.

As children, we learn early on that safety requires obedience – which can only mean giving up personal power and bending to someone else’s will (usually an authority figure). In this way, we can be conditioned from an early age to believe that freedom means doing what makes other people happy and avoiding anything that makes them unhappy.

We grow up learning to live within certain acceptable boundaries – and then spend our lives trying not to fit within those boundaries as adults!

Why Is The Right To Freedom Important?

The right to liberty is important because it allows us to have power over our lives and strive for a better life. It’s one of the basic rights we all deserve as human beings, regardless of where we live or our circumstances.

For example, political freedom is a basic constitutional right in the United States. Although there are many countries in the world where citizens don’t have the same freedoms as people in the United States, the US government was founded on individual freedom and freedom of expression.

In the African American community, people like Martin Luther King Jr, Susan B. Anthony, and Malcolm X were champions of freedom and civil rights who worked tirelessly to ensure that more Americans had access to freedom and civil liberties.

The right to peaceful protest, peaceful assembly, and public debate are important parts of any democracy and essential to any democratic society.

Freedom in Nation-States

Freedom is an essential part of America’s identity as a nation. Throughout history, Americans and the citizens of other nations with a similar belief in freedom have fought for this fundamental right. It is formally enshrined in the United States Constitution.

In the United Kingdom, although there is no written constitution, free society is based on case law established in the courts and a system of government and society that originated in the Magna Carta of 1215.

Press freedom is one of the most important hallmarks of progressive and free nations because it enables citizens to hold those governing them accountable to fundamental values of freedom and good governance.

Freedom Allows Us To Make Mistakes And Learn From Them

In an ideal world, we’d all make the same mistake simultaneously, so there would be no danger of suffering from severe déjà vu!

But in the real world, many of us disagree about what counts as a mistake and what counts as learning from our mistakes. Some people believe that you shouldn’t make mistakes. They tell you to avoid mistakes because they “only lead to trouble.” Those who’re more safety-conscious may think it’s best to avoid mistakes because they can harm and hurt you, likely resulting in emotional and financial damage.

Others think we shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes if we believe it’ll help us learn new things and become better people.

Most people probably think somewhere between these two extremes – that there’s nothing wrong with making a few mistakes here and there, but that we’re also not doing ourselves much harm by not learning from them.

We must have the fundamental freedom to make mistakes and learn from them without fear of being punished or called before an angry mob demanding answers or even death from them. This principle applies equally in professional as in personal life.

Personal Freedom Means Being Who You Want To Be

True freedom is the right to do what you want with your life, liberty, and property. However, most of us have no idea how to use our freedoms in a way that works for us.

Instead, we sometimes allow ourselves to be controlled by people not interested in helping us grow.

  • Freedom means being able to do what you want, not what other people tell you you must do. It also means taking responsibility for your actions and not blaming others for things out of your control.
  • Freedom is important because it allows us to live a life without fear or oppression from those who would seek our enslavement through force or coercion.
  • Freedom allows us to pursue happiness while ensuring our rights are protected at all times; this includes things like religious freedom, speech rights, and many others that have been granted under law throughout history (such as voting rights).

Human Freedom Is A Right, Not A Privilege. We All Deserve It

Freedom is a right, not a privilege. It’s the most important human right because if you take away someone’s ability to determine their actions or if you take away their autonomy, you fundamentally change what it means to be human.

The human rights associated with freedom are:

  • You have the right to freedom.
  • You deserve the right to freedom because it’s necessary for your mental health and well-being.
  • You deserve the right to freedom because it’s an inalienable part of being human: we’re creatures capable of making choices and shaping our lives through rational action.
  • You also have a right to freedom because everyone deserves the same basic human dignity.

Everyone deserves the right to be free from oppression, slavery, and repression. No one should be made a slave or forced into slavery or poverty against his or her will by a person or group that’s more powerful than he or her; that’s why there are laws against everything from kidnapping to enslavement on every continent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is freedom.

Freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. It is a fundamental human right and is associated with liberty and independence.

Why is freedom considered important?

Freedom is important because it allows individuals to express themselves, make choices and decisions, and pursue their life goals. It enables creativity, encourages personal and societal growth, and forms the foundation for democracy.

How does freedom contribute to democracy?

Freedom is a fundamental pillar of democracy. It allows citizens to participate actively in their governance, express their opinions openly, and help foster a system where power is in the hands of the people.

What types of freedom are typically discussed in the context of its importance?

Various types of freedom are discussed, including political, economic, and personal. Political freedom refers to the right to participate in the political process, economic freedom pertains to the ability to engage in economic activity without undue restraint, and personal freedom refers to the ability to make choices about one’s life.

What are the potential downsides or abuses of freedom?

While freedom is fundamentally important, it can potentially be abused. It does not mean the absence of all rules and regulations. Freedom comes with responsibilities, and when misused, it can lead to harm or the encroachment of others’ rights. For instance, hate speech, or actions that harm others or society, is an abuse of freedom.

How does the importance of freedom relate to human rights?

Freedom is a foundational human right, as recognized by international human rights treaties. It connects to numerous other rights, including the right to free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom from fear and want. By respecting freedom, we uphold the dignity and worth of each person.

Can there be limitations on freedom?

Yes, there can be reasonable limitations on freedom, particularly when a person’s exercise of their freedom infringes upon the rights of others or threatens public safety. However, any limitations must be clearly defined by law, necessary, and proportionate to the aim.

Is freedom always associated with positive outcomes?

Freedom typically leads to positive outcomes such as personal growth, creativity, and democratic participation. However, unchecked or misused freedom can sometimes lead to negative outcomes, like social discord or violating of others’ rights. Therefore, freedom needs to be exercised responsibly.

How does freedom contribute to societal growth and progress?

Freedom allows for innovation, creativity, and competition, which drive societal growth. It also encourages the free exchange of ideas, fostering intellectual development and progress. By enabling citizens to participate in decision-making processes actively, it also aids in creating more responsive and inclusive societies.

What can individuals do to promote and protect freedom?

Individuals can promote and protect freedom by exercising their rights responsibly, respecting the freedoms of others, staying informed about their rights, and advocating for laws and systems that protect freedom. Civic participation, education, and peaceful advocacy are all important tools in promoting freedom.

In short, freedom is important to everyone, as individuals, societies, and nations.

  • As individuals, you have the freedom to choose your friends and pursue your own educational goals.
  • We can enact laws protecting our rights and freedoms as a society.
  • As a nation, we enjoy the freedom of an independent government that allows us to make our own foreign policy decisions.

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Narrative Essay: What Freedom Means to Me?

Narrative Essay on What Freedom Means to Me

Have you ever thought what does the word “freedom” mean? I think it is quite an abstract thing which is different for each individual. For example, for me, freedom means doing something that I want if it doesn’t harm other people. However, it cannot be described in simple words, because the word itself contains numerous deeper meanings. It depends on the individual understanding of freedom, and each of us understands it in different ways.

Someone thinks that the freedom is connected with the right to say anything the person wants without a fear of being punished or restricted of doing so. Others think that freedom is connected in walking anywhere they want. Some people think that freedom is your right to choose the government. But no one can say, what is the freedom itself? And in my essay, I have decided to drive deeply into the issue of freedom definition and share my thoughts what does freedom actually means.

I agree that freedom is the right to speak and do everything you want, but only when it doesn’t limit others rights and freedoms. Numerous countries don’t have freedom for their citizens. People are not allowed to criticize their government and cannot freely express their opinion on public. And when they are trying to say something different from the opinion of their government they are being punished. There, people can be fined or imprisoned because of their will to have freedom.

When I hear the word freedom from others, I am thinking about the freedom of choice. This meaning of freedom is easy to understand. People usually connect it with the elections. When there are several politic parties to choose from the person experiences freedom when choosing the one he or she believes in most. Of course, there are countries where politics is connected with the criminal world, and their people don’t have freedom of choice because of corruption, and their choice was paid for by someone else. But there are people who in these countries fight for liberty and sometimes they are changing everything. Like it was in Georgia and then in Ukraine, because their people understood what freedom is and that the choices they made before were not right.

Freedom can also be connected with the right of opening your own business and gain the financial independence. You can produce goods and services and work on your own. But in corrupted countries, I think it is impossible to open your own business without criminal support. That is because the economy of such countries is not healthy and competition is not connected with marketing and advertising activities, but in real money, which you are ready to pay corrupted law enforcement officers and criminals to start your business and then maintain it. And countries, where freedom is respected, provide equal opportunities for all. In this particular case, freedom is joined with financial wellness.

There are also cases when freedom means the right to say “no”. If you don’t agree with the government decision, community decision or another person decision you can say “no”. You don’t need to follow these decisions and you will never be punished for that. But this works only in cases when your ideas and actions do not violate the law and won’t cause harm to the people around you.

So what does freedom mean to me? At my opinion freedom can be connected with not following standard our society has. Freedom is something beyond stereotypes and templates and real personal freedom is a strong opportunity to express yourself in any possible way. Tattoos, piercing, hair style or clothes, we are free to wear or do anything with our body, and this is our freedom of expression. People why are thinking beyond stereotypes understand and respect that freedom.

Freedom is a way of thinking and understanding world around us, and each person understands it in his or her own way, and of course all of us has an own understanding of it. And each of us in some cases needs to fight for this freedom.

I am also thinking that freedom is actions of individuals who don’t need to ask themselves “why?” and just do things they love to do. Freedom is the absence of borders; you can feel freedom in your mind and freedom around you. Imagine that you are at the mountain peak and the world is a small point at the bottom. Do you feel freedom surrounding you? I can bear that you are! That is the real freedom which has a smell of wind and mountains, the skies in front of you. Birds are free to fly anywhere, and I can say for sure that you can also choose your own route.

So freedom can be connected with anything, either actions or thoughts and each person free to express his or her freedom if it doesn’t limit or violates the rights of others. Freedom is around us, and our understanding of this word is different but always closely connected with people around us. Freedom to choose, freedom to do, understand, think, get or any other verb we can insert after the word freedom. It is great to have freedom and a lot of people are still fighting for their freedom. And I hope they will soon get it in one or another way. The world without freedom is too cruel to live in, and if I had no freedom, I would probably be depressed with its absence.

In American society, freedom is the basic notion which each person must understand. Freedom is our American Dream and it was never connected with material things. It is our freedom and freedom of our nation and we should never forget it.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” Benjamin Franklin

References: Mises Institute. (n.d.). Ben Franklin on Liberty. [online] Available at: https://mises.org/library/ben-franklin-liberty [Accessed 19 Dec. 2016].

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Paragraph About Freedom For Students In 150 to 250 Words

Table of Contents

Freedom is a human’s most important obsession. It fuels democracy, the Bill of Rights, and personal liberty. We have come to expect that freedom is not only something we should enjoy, but also something that everyone deserves to fully experience. But what happens when freedom starts affecting those around us? What’s more important: your personal freedom or the freedoms of others?

Paragraph On Importance of Freedom

Introduction

We all enjoy our freedoms – the freedom to express ourselves, the freedom to worship as we please, and the freedom to live our lives without fear of government intrusion. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same level of access to these freedoms. In some countries, people have little freedom to express themselves or worship as they please. This is due to political and social restrictions imposed by their government.

One of the most important freedoms we enjoy is the freedom of speech . This is a right that allows us to communicate our thoughts and feelings freely without fear of punishment from the government. In some cases, however, this right can be abused by those with power in society. For example, governments may use freedom of speech to bully or intimidate others.

One way to protect our freedoms is to have a free and open media environment. This means that the media can criticize government policies without fear of retribution from the government. In fact, some governments have gone so far as to jail journalists who publish unfavorable reports about them. However, even with a free and open media environment, it is still possible for governments to restrict our freedoms indirectly through laws and regulations. For example, laws that prohibit hate speech can be used to

Importance of Freedom

Freedom is an essential part of life. Without it, we would not be able to do anything that we want or enjoy. Freedom allows us to live our lives the way we want to, without being restricted by others. It is important to protect freedom because it allows us to be ourselves and do what we want. Freedom is a right that we all should be able to enjoy in life. If we are not allowed to do what we want, it could negatively affect our health, education and overall well-being. As humans, freedom is an important part of every person’s life and should also be protected by everyone. This can only be done by being able to have a say in the way that we live our lives.

What does freedom mean to you? Does it mean something different than what I listed above? Is freedom more important than anything else? If so, why? Please explain your reasoning for why freedom is the most important thing in the world.

Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right that allows individuals to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retaliation. It is enshrined in most democratic constitutions and is considered essential for the functioning of a free society. However, freedom of speech is not absolute, and there are certain limits to what can be said in the name of free speech. For instance, hate speech, incitement to violence, and defamation are not protected by freedom of speech. The balance between freedom of speech and other rights, such as the right to privacy or the right to a fair trial, is a delicate one that requires constant vigilance.

Paragraph about Freedom is a Concept that needs to be understood

Freedom is a concept that needs to be understood if we are to appreciate its value fully. Freedom is not just the absence of external constraints; it is also the ability to exercise our own will and make choices that reflect our values and beliefs. To be truly free, we need to have a sense of purpose, a sense of direction, and a sense of responsibility. Freedom does not mean doing whatever we want, whenever we want, without regard for others. Rather, freedom is about living in harmony with others and with the world around us, while still maintaining our autonomy and individuality.

Paragraph about Freedom Day

Freedom Day is a public holiday celebrated in various countries around the world to commemorate the abolition of slavery, the end of colonialism, or the establishment of a democratic government. It is a day to reflect on the struggles of those who fought for freedom and to renew our commitment to the principles of liberty and equality. Freedom Day is an occasion to celebrate the progress that has been made in the quest for freedom, but it is also a reminder that freedom is a continuous struggle that requires constant vigilance and effort.

Paragraph about Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right that allows individuals to practice their faith without fear of persecution or discrimination. It is enshrined in most democratic constitutions and is considered essential for the functioning of a free society. Freedom of religion also includes the freedom to change one’s religion or to have no religion at all. However, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion is not absolute, and there are certain limits to what can be done in the name of religion.

Freedom is a precious commodity that we all inherently deserve. No one should be deprived of their right to live and enjoy their life, free from arbitrary control or interference. This article will explore the meaning and importance of freedom, and explain why it is so essential to our well-being. What Is Freedom?

The word “freedom” has many different connotations and definitions. But we can identify four major categories of freedom, namely: external, internal, moral and economic.

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Meaning of Freedom Essay Example

The meaning of freedom is complex and has many different interpretations. For the purposes of this essay, I will be exploring the philosophical definition of freedom as it applies to humans in society. Freedom is an innate human need that we all seek out in order to feel fulfilled or happy. We are born free yet affected by external forces. The degree to which our lives are controlled by these outside influences determines how much freedom we have in life. Once we understand what holds us back from true freedom, then we can work on achieving it through education, activism, and even personal transformation.

Thesis Statement For Freedom Essay

Introduction of freedom essay, main body – freedom essay, essay example on meaning of freedom.

It is very important to have freedom in every arena of life to live a happy and successful life. One cannot achieve the best success and happiness in one’s life without having access to freedom in all aspects.

The term freedom is a very vast and umbrella term that denotes the number of freedoms including the freedom to speak, freedom to live, and freedom at the workplace. There are several professionals like nursing where it is difficult to access this freedom which hinders the ultimate growth of the person. At the same time in many places, our personal freedom to take our decision is also curtailed which never let us happy and successful.

Working on a project, goal and mission also need complete freedom to use all efforts and ideas. Without freedom, one cannot suppose be the best and unique as perfection comes with experiments and it is impossible to do experiments if freedom is lacking. So eventually we can say that without freedom it is not possible to get success in life and thus happiness is also directly proportional to freedom.

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Why it is important to have freedom in life.

Freedom is the basis of life for any living being be it Animals or humans as a person having no freedom cannot remain happy. Either at a personal level or at the social level at both platforms the freedom plays a significant role in human life. A person experiencing obstruction to any type of freedom feels like in prison where he cannot act according to his wish.

But we cannot say that a person should be free to do whatever he feels to do as in such case we give him a license to murder and loot the people. But yes as long as a person is not harming other’s freedom and peace he should be free to experience free will in his life.

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Is it crucial to provide absolute freedom to an employee on a professional level?

When it comes to absolute freedom it means the person is free to do anything he or she desires. Well, this type of utopian freedom does not exist in the human world as we cannot give the right to harm others just to access freedom.

When it comes to professional level freedom the situation can be seen with similar spectacles as absolute freedom can harm others even on a professional platform as well. For example, if a nurse will be given absolute freedom she can experience this freedom to harm the patient by troubling him psychologically. That is why the level of freedom should always be rigid and not elastic which can be stretched to any length.

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How freedom is related to happiness and success.

When a person is given the freedom he or she can do whatever they want to do as a result of which they can use their best mind to find success. On the contrary, when there will be restrictions to try your hand in every field of life success is not going to great you easily. The poor chances of success mean the person will not find any happiness in life as an unsuccessful person is unable to enjoy the lifelike that of a successful one. That is how we can relate success with happiness through freedom.

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Why only Human freedom is considered at a priority level

Freedom is the need of every living being on this earth but unfortunately most of the time we only pay attention to human freedom. The right of living, expression, and free will is considered in relation to humans only. Animals and other living entities are kept out of the sphere of freedom too often.

Even the right to live is also snatched from the animals in various societies and nations. But it is crucial to give attention to this side to save the rights of other living beings and give them basic freedom at least. Some intellectual people of society must ponder on this issue to come up with valid solutions that can solve the issues related to freedom for humans and animals as well.

From the above essay, we can make a conclusion that freedom is really the basis of life. One cannot achieve success and happiness if there are restrictions in one’s life. One has to put all his efforts to gain freedom in life if there occur any hindrance in the way. Most of the time people ignore the importance of freedom especially when it comes to women in poor nations which is not a good idea.

The right to equality can be exercised in real scenes when it is seen in relation to the freedom right. In a nutshell, freedom serves the basic need of every individual and one must fight to get that freedom if it is lacking in one’s life. Every type of freedom is crucial from personal to a professional level for becoming successful and happy in life.

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Freedom Philosophy Essay Examples & Topics

What is freedom in philosophy? Is freedom real? The phenomena of freedom and free will have been discussed in philosophy for centuries. These concepts are not easily defined.

Freedom can mean the capacity to do something or be someone without restraints or limitations. It can also refer to independence from the influence of others. There are several types of human freedom: physical, political, natural, social, and many more.

Free will is defined as the ability to make an independent choice.

The problem of freedom has a long-standing history with multitudes of differing viewpoints. If you are writing a freedom philosophy essay, you have a long road ahead of you. Our experts have described some thinkers so that you know where to start your research. See their conflicting takes on freedom and responsibility explored on the page. Also, we have come up with exciting topics for what is freedom philosophy essay or research paper.

Besides, you will find essay samples written by other students. Reading them can get you inspired or help you develop your own paper.

What Is Freedom in Philosophy? The Most Prominent Thinkers

Throughout humankind’s history, many had something to say about the concept of freedom. Philosophers have debated and continue to argue with one another over this complicated subject. Over here, we have looked at some of the points of view held by the most prominent thinkers. They will help you begin thinking about “what is freedom in philosophy” essays.

  • René Descartes

In his philosophical theories, René Descartes insisted that freedom comes from the human mind. He divided the world into the material and the ideal world of thoughts. Descartes believed that our ideas were completely free and could influence the material world.

  • Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant argued that a person could not be genuinely free while their wants and wishes govern them. He came up with the concept of autonomy, believing that the ideal way to live is through self-control. Once a human person stops being a slave to their desire, only then will they achieve true freedom.

  • Arthur Schopenhauer

Drawing inspiration from Plato, Arthur Schopenhauer wrote essays on the questions of ethics and human freedom. He claimed that there was absolutely no such thing as free will and that people could not possess it. Schopenhauer insisted that a person could only react in response to external stimuli.

  • Rudolf Steiner

Rudolph Steiner discussed what human freedom means in his work titled The Philosophy of Freedom . He argued that freedom lies in the relationship between a person’s ideals and the limitations of external reality. Understanding the gap between the two allows one’s actions to be inspired by moral imagination.

  • Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre is famous for coming up with some of the most influential theories on existentialism. He didn’t believe that freedom and responsibility are separable. According to him, we give meaning to our lives through our decisions. Sartre debated that there was no God to provide us with a purpose. Therefore, freedom was a burden on humanity.

  • Isaiah Berlin

Most famous for his concepts of positive and negative freedom, Isaiah Berlin talked about opposing philosophies of liberty. Positive liberty referred to the idea of self-government, similar to Kant’s autonomy. In contrast, negative liberty explores the notion of freedom as being unhindered by other forces.

Freedom Philosophy Essay Topics

You can write an incredible number of works about freedom in philosophy. So how does one choose the best idea? First of all, you can try using our title generator , which will automatically create it for you. Second, you can peruse our list of topics, specially prepared for freedom in philosophy essays.

  • Examining Berlin’s two concepts of freedom in relation to political liberty.
  • What is the concept of freedom according to Christian theology?
  • Dissecting Descartes’ Cogito ergo sum regarding freedom of thought and free will.
  • Is Kant’s idea of self-freedom tangibly achievable?
  • The differences and similarities between Hegel’s and Steiner’s philosophies of freedom.
  • Does the existence of charities undermine the social and economic freedom of individuals?
  • Social media filtering and the constraints to social freedom imposed by censorship.
  • The relationships between the concepts of freedom and responsibility.
  • Can the concept of free will and faith co-exist?
  • Examining the right to free speech from the point of view of the freedom philosophy.
  • Is there any true importance of freedom for human beings, according to Sartre?
  • The main differences in points of contention between 19 th and 20 th -century freedom philosophers.
  • Analyzing the fundamental principles of utilitarian ethics concerning freedom.
  • Exploring Theodore Adorno’s moral philosophy and the un-freedom of the individual.
  • A reflection on Schopenhauer’s philosophy and the moral responsibility for one’s actions.
  • How does the idea of determinism contradict the concept of free will?

In this article, we have only touched upon the topic of freedom. There are still hundreds of philosophers and hundreds of ideas left. To continue exploring these ideas, consider reading through our human freedom philosophy essay samples. We’re sure they will help you deepen your understanding of this topic!

Thank you for reading!

51 Freedom in Philosophy Essay Examples

Are we free or determined.

  • Words: 1445

Philosophy and Relationship between Freedom and Responsibility Essay

  • Words: 1658

Jean-Paul Sartre’s Views on Freedom

  • Words: 1394

Freedom and Determinism

  • Words: 1716

Satre human freedom

  • Words: 1626

Free Will: Towards Hume’s Compatibilist Approach

  • Words: 1833

Do Humans Have Free Will?

  • Words: 1368

Perspectives on Free Will: A Comparison of Hobbes and Berkeley

Determinism argument and objection to it.

  • Words: 1103

Rousseau and Kant on their respective accounts of freedom and right

  • Words: 2073

Free Will and Argument Against Its Existence

  • Words: 1508

Freedom of the Will

The concept of free will by susan wolf, the meaning of freedom today.

  • Words: 1564

Philosophers’ Thoughts on Liberty

Freedom and the role of civilization.

  • Words: 2291

Albert Camus’s “The Guest”: Obedience to Authority

  • Words: 1373

Saint Augustine and the Question of Free Will

Democracy: the influence of freedom, moral responsibility, free will and determinism, the role of free will and determinism, free will: determinism and libertarianism, moral responsibility and hard determinism, free will vs. determinism as philosophical concepts, why is a man free: philosophical perspective, free will in human life: reality or fraud.

  • Words: 1687

Free Will and Its Possible Extent

Against free will: determinism and prediction, is the good life found in freedom example of malala yousafzai, freedom: malcolm x’s vs. anna quindlen’s views, autonomy or independence by e. durkheim and t. adorno.

  • Words: 1659

Freedom Definition Revision: Components of Freedom

Free will and willpower: is consciousness necessary.

  • Words: 3802

Boredom and Freedom: Different Views and Links

  • Words: 2849

Master Zhuang’s Philosophical Theory of Freedom

  • Words: 2066

The Existence of Freedom

Van inwagen’s philosophical argument on free will, mill’s power over body vs. foucault’s freedom, rousseau’s vs. confucius’ freedom concept, hegel and marx on civil society and human freedom.

  • Words: 2235

Human Free Will in Philosophical Theories

Nielsen’s free will and determinism: an analysis and critique.

  • Words: 1166

Rivalry and Central Planning by Don Lavoie: Study Analysis

  • Words: 1349

Human Freedom as Contextual Deliberation

  • Words: 1999

Susan Wolf’s Philosophy

  • Words: 1088

Inconsistency of the Compatibilist

  • Words: 1101

Concepts of Determinism, Compatibilism, and Libertarianism

  • Words: 1664

Free Will of a Heroin Addict

What is the difference between compatibilsm and incompatibilist in relation to free will, “the behavior of atoms is governed entirely by physical law.” “humans have free will.” “are these statements incompatible”, the issue of the free will.

What Does Freedom Mean To You Essay

Freedom to me is the ability to do what I want, when I want, without having to answer to anyone. It’s being my own boss and making my own decisions. Freedom also means being able to travel and explore new places without worrying about money or work. To me, freedom is living life on my own terms and doing what makes me happy.

Freedom can have various meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Freedom is sometimes defined as a “political right.” In other situations, it may be defined simply as “the state of being free,” according to Merriam-Webster. Others may think of freedom as a precious gift that must be fought for.

Freedom, to me, is the ability to do what I want, when I want, without having to worry about the consequences. It is the ability to be myself and not have to pretend to be someone else. Freedom is being able to love who I want and not be judged for it. Freedom is also being able to voice my opinion without fear of retribution.

Freedom is important because it allows us to be our true selves. It gives us the ability to express ourselves fully and without restrictions. It also allows us to live our lives the way we want to, without interference from others.

These definitions are all for the same term, although their meaning vary. The word freedom can have various meanings, including as a political right, the quality or state of being free, and a struggle for liberty.

Freedom to some people can mean different things, but in general, it is a power or right that is not given by another person or authority, but one that is self-given. Freedom can also be seen as the ability to act and speak freely without restraint, as well as the absence of oppression. Freedom is a concept that has been around for centuries, and its meaning has changed over time.

Freedom, in my opinion, has the most conflict with the Merriam-Webster definition being “political right.” In order to exercise power, the government must take away liberties. The goal of a government is to establish control, and in order to establish control, it must limit freedoms.

In my opinion, the government’s ultimate goal is to have power over the people, and they use freedom as a tool to manipulate the people into submission. Freedom should be about having the ability to do what you want without interference, but instead it has become a means for furthering agendas.

When I think about what freedom means to me, I think about being able to do what I want without worrying about the government or anyone else interfering. Freedom to me is being able to live my life the way I want to without having to answer to anyone. Unfortunately, in today’s society that is not always possible. We are constantly being told what we can and cannot do, and our freedoms are slowly being taken away from us.

I believe that everyone should have the freedom to live their life the way they want to, as long as they are not harming anyone else in the process. We should all be able to pursue our own happiness without having to worry about the government or anyone else interfering. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Freedom is something that we have to fight for every day, and it is something that we should never take for granted.

This is not something that is wrong in any way since every society requires a structure to keep it together. However, because the state has been established to take away liberties, freedom should not be considered a “political right.” A less complex definition of this may be found in the condition of being free.

The got Freedom House Index. Freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint, and the absence of a coercive force. Freedom encompasses both the ability to do things freely and being free from something.

The definition of freedom has changed throughout history, and even today there are different interpretations of what freedom means. For some people, freedom may mean being able to do whatever they want without any restrictions. For others, it may mean being free from oppression or being able to choose their own destiny.

Freedom is a complex concept with many different dimensions that can be explored. However, at its core, freedom is the ability to live your life in a way that you choose – without interference from others.

Freedom is important because it allows us to choose how we live our lives. It gives us the opportunity to make our own choices and to pursue our own goals and dreams. Freedom allows us to be ourselves. It is an essential part of who we are as human beings.

Without freedom, we would not be able to express our unique individualities. We would not be able to develop our talents and abilities. We would not be able to choose our own friends, or have any control over our own lives. Freedom is what makes us human.

This is because freedom is more than simply the “state of being free.” Although this phrase is an appropriate definition of freedom, it isn’t a moral definition. When Newman says that “habit of mind is developed, which endures through life and has the characteristics of freedom, equity, calmness, moderation, and wisdom” (Newman “Knowledge Its Own End”), he’s referring to this kind of freedom. There’s a better way to define freedom than what you’ve read here.

Freedom, according to Aristotle, is the power to act or not to act, and to do this for a specific purpose that you have chosen (Aristotle). Freedom is also different than independence. Freedom is the power to choose, while independence is being free from the influence of others. Freedom, then according to Aristotle’s definition, means “the ability to exercise choice” while independence implies “not being subject to restraint or control by others” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy). So, freedom according to Aristotle is a more moral definition because it speaks of the ability to choose, and this is what we will use as our working definition of freedom.

There are different types of freedom. There is negative freedom which is the freedom from interference or constraints imposed by others. This type of freedom is often thought of as the more “traditional” view of freedom. And then there is positive freedom which is the ability to act freely in pursuit of a goal or good. So, positive freedom is more than simply being free from restraints, it is being free to act towards a specific end. Freedom, according to our working definition, then, is the ability to exercise choice unhampered by external constraints.

There are different ways to think about what freedom means. One way is to think about it in terms of rights. Freedom, in this view, is the right to do what you want without interference from others. Freedom of speech, for example, is the right to say what you want without fear of censorship or punishment. Freedom of religion is the right to worship as you please without interference from the state. Freedom of association is the right to associate with whomever you choose, and so on.

Another way to think about freedom is in terms of power. Freedom, in this view, is the power to do what you want without interference from others. This kind of freedom is often thought of as “freedom of action”. It is the ability to act freely in pursuit of your goals and objectives. Freedom of action includes both negative and positive freedom.

More Essays

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Essay on Freedom for Students & Children in English [Easy Words]

January 6, 2021 by Sandeep

Essay on Freedom: The liberty to act according to one’s own wishes and choice without being held back by any restrictions or conditions is called freedom. India achieved freedom from British rule on 15th August 1947. Achieving independence from oppression or slavery is also a form of autonomy. Freedom of speech, the expression is granted by India’s government to all its citizens. Every citizen enjoys the freedom to write, give a speech and publish articles without hurting others sentiments.

Essay on Freedom 500 Words in English

Below we have provided Freedom Essay in English, suitable for class 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10.

“The best road to progress is freedom’s road.” ~John F. Kennedy

We have all been familiarized with the term freedom. But have you ever wondered what the word means? People all around the world have different opinions for freedom. Their thoughts and ideas of expression vary while defining it. To some of them, freedom means the right to speak anything without fear of being harmed. Some talk about the political and social aspects of freedom.

What is Freedom?

Freedom is the right we inherit since the day we are born. It is an abstract quality which every individual wants to possess. The concept of freedom is quite vast. A simple definition of it mentions that it is a state of being independent. Being free means a person can make his/her own decisions without any consequences from society.

Types of Freedom

We can divide freedom into various types. Here we have mentioned a few of those:

  • Freedom of Choice: All individuals have the right to make their own choices and decisions. They can regulate their private life. And they are responsible for the consequences of these choices.
  • Physical Freedom: This implies to our fundamental rights. No one can be held against their will. This excludes cases like children being kept at home for their safety.
  • Mental Freedom: This refers to the detachment of external labels and making one’s resolution. This resolution enables you to improve your life. It encourages you to reach the highest potential.
  • Freedom of Citizenship: It allows you to access various citizenship rights in your country. These include your right to vote during the elections. It also enables you to run as an elected candidate for a governmental position.
  • Emotional Freedom: A person has the right to freely express their emotions. Some societies discourage this emotional freedom. This is because they want us to appear civilised. However, suppressing our feelings might be bad for our mental health.
  • Personal Rights: These are a group of rights that belong to every human, regardless of his status, caste, or gender. They include the right to privacy, right to property, right to life, freedom of movement, etc.
  • Freedom of Religion: This enables us to follow the religion of our preference. At any point in life, we can change it freely. No one has the liability to restrict us from following a particular path.
  • Freedom of Expression: In this, a human has the freedom to express his/her opinion in whatever form he/she chooses to. Most of the democratic nations have made it available to their people. However, in some cases (like dictatorship), it might be restricted.
  • Freedom to Exist: Most of us have our free will to decide the environment we want to live in. This might be a concern for some particular cases.

India’s History of Freedom

For a long time, India was clutched under the rule of British officials. Our history of freedom was a battle that was fought with persistence and devotion. During this long fight, many of our country’s citizens lost their lives. It is because of their sacrifice that we are a free country today. During the days of struggle, India had drafted a constitution .

This constitution consisted of several fundamental rights. These rights applied to all of us and were to be implemented without any discrimination. Some of the most important ones were the right to equality and the right to education. Socio-economic and cultural rights were also part of this constitution. Post-independence, India became one of those nations that gave these rights of freedom to its citizens. This is what made India the world’s largest democratic nation.

Value of Freedom

People have always wanted to be free. So what about freedom makes it so valuable? Why do we need it? Freedom links us to contentment. The real value of freedom can only be appreciated by a person who has fought for it. Only when you are deprived of freedom, you realize its importance. Freedom liberates you from the forms of injustice (racism, ethnic hatred, discrimination).

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Writing help, paraphrasing tool, exodusters: trailblazers in the quest for freedom.

This vivid essay brings to life the story of the Exodusters, a group of African Americans who, in the late 1870s, embarked on a journey from the oppressive South to the hopeful lands of the West. It portrays the Exodusters not just as migrants, but as pioneers in the pursuit of freedom and self-determination. The narrative captures the essence of their struggle, inspired by the biblical Exodus, and led by visionary figures like Benjamin “Pap” Singleton. The essay delves into the harsh realities they faced in the South post-Civil War, the dream that drove them to migrate to states like Kansas, and the daunting challenges they encountered upon arrival. Despite these hardships, their journey is depicted as a powerful statement of resilience, laying the foundations for African American communities in the West. The story of the Exodusters is presented as a critical and inspiring chapter in African American history, highlighting their unwavering pursuit of a better life and their significant role in shaping the American narrative of freedom and dignity. PapersOwl showcases more free essays that are examples of Freedom.

How it works

Imagine a time when freedom was more a dream than a reality. This was the world of the Exodusters, a courageous group of African Americans who, in the late 1870s, took their futures into their own hands and embarked on a journey to the West. They weren’t just moving geographically; they were chasing a dream, a vision of real freedom and a life they could call their own.

Benjamin “Pap” Singleton was the mastermind behind this movement. Think of him as a conductor on the underground railroad to freedom. He wasn’t just guiding people to Kansas; he was helping them build a new life, a community where they could thrive away from the shadows of slavery.

But let’s not romanticize it – the journey was tough. Imagine traveling hundreds of miles, not by luxury coach, but by foot, wagon, or any means possible. And the destination wasn’t exactly the promised land they’d hoped for. They faced hostility, scarcity, and the harsh realities of building a life from scratch. Yet, they persevered, laying down roots and establishing communities.

The Exodusters’ movement was more than a migration; it was a bold statement of self-determination and resilience. It was about taking control in a world that offered them very little. Their story is a powerful chapter in African American history, a testament to the unyielding pursuit of freedom and dignity. It’s a reminder of the courage it takes to chase a dream and the enduring spirit of those who dare to seek a better life against all odds.

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Kalina Duncheva

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Hey all! My name is Kalina, and I'm a '27 from Sofia, Bulgaria. I'm interested in literature, the natural sciences, and foreign languages, so I'm considering majoring/minoring in CS, Environmental Studies, and Comparative Lit. I love writing and reading fantasy (i.e. I'm an expert on Middle Earth and Hogwarts studies). I also love hiking, bird-watching, and learning random words in Portuguese from my Brazilian friends. I'm so excited to share with you my Dartmouth journey!

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If I could rewrite my Why Dartmouth essay

Kalina's trippees on the path to Mount Cube

Two things happened this week that inspired this post. Number one, I attended an alumni event at my high-school, where I was told that because I was talking so much about my love for Dartmouth, I was a "college nationalist" (that was a funny remark, gotta give it to him). And number two, after it became clear that I was so adept at practicing "college nationalism," I decided to re-read my Dartmouth essays from a year ago to see whether I was so helplessly in love with that college even then.

I happily re-read two of my Dartmouth essays—the ones in which I talked about reading and writing. I couldn't quite make myself re-read my "Why Dartmouth" essay, though.

The "college nationalist" doesn't want to re-read her "Why Dartmouth" essay? Why?

I was never quite happy with my "Why Dartmouth" essay. I don't think it shows why I was SO excited about Dartmouth a year ago, nor is it anywhere close to showing why I am STILL excited about it now. 

If I could rewrite my "Why Dartmouth" essay, I would talk much more about the DOC ( the Dartmouth Outing Club). I'd talk about the many trips it runs EVERY week (which are all absolutely free for students). I'd talk about the many charming cabins Dartmouth owns across the New Hampshire woods (which are also free to rent for Dartmouth students). And most importantly, I'd talk about the amazing people you find in the DOC—from those who walk around carrying suitcases full of rocks and fluorescent fossils to those who decide to go surfing and birdwatching at the same time.

THIS was the part I found really tricky to write in my "Why Dartmouth" essay a year ago. How do you talk about the people you still haven't met, but are absolutely certain that they exist and that they're amazing without sounding corny or delusional?

As a senior in high school, you can't really KNOW that the community at your dream college is in fact the amazing community you think it is. After all, you still haven't become a part of that community to cite it as your main reason for applying to that school. Besides, how do you convincingly explain that hunch of yours, that gut feeling that these are YOUR PEOPLE, when you still haven't met these people?

I don't know how you do all that—you often just write something you aren't quite proud of, like I did. In my original "Why Dartmouth" essay, I focused on real things I could easily put in writing—from the Organic Farm to the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship. But in my revised "Why Dartmouth" essay, I would write about the people; I'd write about the brilliant, hilarious, and fascinating hikers, climbers, archers, birdwatchers, surfers, and skiers that make me grateful every day that I'm at no other school but Dartmouth :)

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“Free the Truth”: The Belmarsh Tribunal on Julian Assange & Defending Press Freedom

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In a New Year’s Day special broadcast, we air highlights from the Belmarsh Tribunal held last month in Washington, D.C., where journalists, lawyers, activists and other expert witnesses made the case to free Julian Assange from prison in the United Kingdom. The WikiLeaks founder has been jailed at London’s Belmarsh prison since 2019, awaiting possible extradition to the United States on espionage charges for publishing documents that revealed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rights groups say the charges threaten freedom of the press and put a chilling effect on the work of investigative journalists who expose government secrets.

The Belmarsh Tribunal, inspired by the Russell-Sartre Tribunals of the Vietnam War, has been convened several times in the U.S., Europe and beyond to press for Assange’s release. The December proceedings were co-chaired by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and The Intercept ’s Ryan Grim.

Members of the tribunal included:

Ewen MacAskill , journalist and intelligence correspondent (formerly with The Guardian )

*John Kiriakou, former intelligence officer for the CIA

Lina Attalah , co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr

Abby Martin , journalist and host of The Empire Files

Mark Feldstein , veteran investigative reporter and journalism historian at the University of Maryland

Ben Wizner , lawyer and civil liberties advocate with the ACLU

Trevor Timm , journalist and co-founder of Freedom of the Press Foundation

Rebecca Vincent , director of campaigns, Reporters Without Borders

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AMY GOODMAN : President Biden is facing continuing pressure to drop charges against Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been languishing for nearly five years in the maximum-security Belmarsh prison outside London, while appealing extradition to the United States. If he is extradited, tried and convicted, Julian Assange faces up to 175 years in prison for violating the U.S. Espionage Act for publishing documents that expose U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond.

A group of journalists, lawyers and press freedom advocates recently gathered to testify at the Belmarsh Tribunal at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Inspired by the Russell-Sartre Tribunals of the Vietnam War, the Belmarsh Tribunal has brought together a range of expert witnesses, from constitutional lawyers to journalists to human rights defenders, to present evidence of the assault on press freedom and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The tribunal was organized by the Progressive International and the Wau Holland Foundation. I co-chaired the tribunal with Ryan Grim of The Intercept . Today we bring you excerpts.

AMY GOODMAN : Since its first sitting, the Belmarsh Tribunal has convened the world’s leading journalists, lawyers and parliamentarians, from professor Noam Chomsky, who just celebrated his 95th birthday, to President Luiz Lula da Silva, to provide testimony to the global threat to press freedom. Today, the Belmarsh Tribunal returns here to the National Press Club for its most urgent session as the extradition case against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is entering its final stage.
In 2010, WikiLeaks came to this very hall in the National Press Club to premiere a video it called “Collateral Murder,” providing leaked evidence of U.S. war crimes that would forever change the trajectory of the “war on terror” and the U.S. government’s repression of its critics. I remember that news conference that Julian Assange held so well. We interviewed him the next day on Democracy Now! , as they revealed this video footage that they had gotten.
It was video footage of a July 2007 attack by a U.S. Apache helicopter unit on an area of Baghdad called New Baghdad. There were more than a dozen men below. The Apache helicopter, you can hear them laughing and cursing inside, because it’s the video not of peace activists on the ground, but from inside the Apache helicopter. They request permission to open fire on this group of men. They get it, and they kill almost all of them. Two of them worked for Reuters. The up-and-coming videographer Namir Noor-Eldeen was 22 years old. And the driver for so many Reuters reporters in Iraq, Saeed Chmagh, was 40. He had four children. He didn’t die in the first attack, in the first blast. But as he crawled away, the Apache helicopter opened fire again and killed him. They killed more than 12 men that day. Reuters repeatedly asked for the videotape to see what happened to their colleagues. And it was only after Julian Assange and WikiLeaks released that video that they got a hold of it.
And to show how important press freedom is, in the Iraq notes and Afghan war logs that WikiLeaks also released, we saw that six weeks before an Apache helicopter unit was again hovering overhead, two men looked up, they put up their hands, surrendering to an Apache helicopter. The soldiers in the helicopter called back to base, talked to the lawyer, said, “Can we open fire?” They got permission, and they blew them away, these two men surrendering. But the response was from above in the helicopter. You can’t surrender to a helicopter. And if people had seen what had happened in February of 2007 at the time and opened — I think an investigation would have been opened. And what happened six months later to Saeed and — Chmagh and all the men in Iraq who were killed that day by the Apache helicopter unit wouldn’t have happened, because they would have been under investigation. Why press freedom, why freedom of information is so important, because press freedom is really about the public’s right to know.
Because of these courageous revelations, Julian Assange has been charged under a more than 100-year-old act, the 1917 Espionage Act, and faces a potential 175 years in prison. Today Julian Assange is imprisoned at the high-security Belmarsh prison outside London, where he’s been held for almost five years as he awaits the final verdict, an extradition case. The prison after which this tribunal takes its name, the Belmarsh Tribunal, inspired from the Russell-Sartre Tribunal of 1966, also known as the International War Crimes Tribunal, when representatives of 18 countries gathered to hear testimony of the war crimes committed by the United States against the people of Vietnam. The Russell-Sartre Tribunal, the Nobel Prize-winning Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and others, that tribunal would turn its attention to Palestine in the years that followed, investigating the state of Israel for its violent occupation of the Palestinian territories and against the people of Palestine. Now as war crimes multiply in Gaza and the West Bank, with over 17,000 people killed, over 60 Palestinian journalists killed in the past two months alone, the Belmarsh Tribunal takes forward the legacy of the Russell-Sartre Tribunal to hear testimony on the threats to press freedom around the world.
Well, I pass now the gavel to the co-chair of today’s tribunal, Ryan Grim, who is the D.C. bureau chief of The Intercept and author of the book that was just published this past week, The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution , to Ryan Grim.
RYAN GRIM : Thank you, Amy, and thank you to everybody for coming out here today. Going to be quick, so we can move to the distinguished testimonies that we’re going to receive. Amy spoke eloquently about the way that the persecution of Assange is such a threat to press freedom. And I wanted to speak a little bit more specifically about the charges themselves. And I know that in some ways, it can be naive to kind of even engage with the actual indictment, because what Amy described is what is actually at play here. But if he is extradited, it is going to have to go to court, and it will be worked out. And so the law does matter. And I wanted to speak about the charges, kind of as an investigative journalist, somebody who, you know, has — I’ve seen myself as a competitor at many times with Assange. He would always crush me. Like, he — and I think that the animosity that you see from so many journalists toward him is not unrelated to that, that he has broken more big stories in his career, perhaps, than collectively the rest of journalism combined during the time that he’s been a journalist, and I think that’s very hard for other journalists to take. But so I want to talk about two specific elements of the indictment.
First of all, there’s a myth out there that he’s being charged as a hacker and not for publishing. If you do a control-F in the indictment for “publishing,” you will find it multiple times. That’s just — it’s just simply a lie. He is charged with publishing classified information. You often hear him described as a traitor, that there was some treason involved. I can’t think of anything more absurd to charge somebody with who isn’t an American citizen. The time that he was here in this room may be the only time he’s been to the United States. If he’s been here more than that, it’s not much. So, if you’ve barely ever even visited a country, how can you commit treason against it? The idea that, say, I have committed treason against Saudi Arabia for reporting on them, or the UAE , is just as absurd. And they would love nothing more than to be able to make that the bar, so that if you’re traveling anywhere around the world, you can say, “Well, here are our laws around press freedom. He violated them. We’re extraditing him to our country.”
So, the two key points here, one is this idea that he asked, you know, Chelsea Manning to go ahead and get information for him. For one, investigative journalists do this all the time. We are constantly getting leaks from sources, and then we’ll say, “What else do you have that can confirm this? What else do you have that can contextualize this?” If what he did is illegal, then everything that every investigative journalist does, when they’re doing investigative journalism, is illegal. And in one way, that is the goal of the indictment. The phrase that he used was even careful when he was chatting with Chelsea. He said — she said, “This is mostly all I have. Do you want me to see if I can get anything else?” He said, “Curious eyes never run dry, in my experience.” So he wasn’t even — he was being careful about what he said. But even if he had said, “Yes, we want more,” that’s what journalists do. They want more information.
The second key part is the way that they talk about how he offered a way — he offered to help Chelsea to break a hash that would give her anonymity as she was obtaining and providing this information. To me, that’s no different than any journalist who tells a source, “Put a potted plant on this side of your door, and that will be a signal that we’re going to meet in a parking garage. Put a potted plant on this side of the door, and it’ll be a signal that we’re not.” That’s back in the low-tech Watergate days. Today it would be, “Contact me on Signal. Here’s how you reach out to me, so that you’re going to be protected.” It would also be describing you in a vague way in an article, so that the authorities do not know who the source is. All of these things are basic source protection methods that he was engaged in with her. And to frame that as criminal activity, which the indictment does, is a direct threat to any journalism that is not just repeating, you know, on-the-record statements from authorities, which is not an accident.
And I’ll just finish with the key point, that of the crimes — from the crimes that were exposed to the world by Chelsea Manning to Julian Assange, only two people have ever been punished for that. And that’s Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.
AMY GOODMAN : Our first witness today at the Belmarsh Tribunal is Ewen MacAskill, internationally renowned journalist and defense and intelligence correspondent at The Guardian . Ewen and his team share the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their coverage of information disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ewen MacAskill.
EWEN MacASKILL: Part of the reason I’m here is, from 2007 to 2013, I was The Guardian 's Washington bureau chief. And so I was here in 2010 when the story broke. I wrote some of the stories from the cache of documents that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks provided. And I covered the reaction from the White House, State Department and others. I know that there's quite a lot of hostility, particularly in the left in America, towards Julian Assange over what happened in 2016 in the White House elections. But maybe it’s a bit presumptuous for somebody who’s not American to ask you to park that, because this extradition has nothing to do with 2016 and Russia. This extradition is almost exclusively, although there’s some extra hacking allegations, is mainly to deal with what happened in 2010. And those leaks, as Amy said, are an act of journalism. They’re a public service.
If not for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Chelsea Manning, we wouldn’t have known about the Apache attack in Iraq. Up until that point, we didn’t really know what was happening in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, at least not in a realistic way. Those war logs provided an account of how the U.S. and its allies were losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, contrary to the public line that they were actually winning them. That’s akin to what Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s over Vietnam. And there were lots of other stories there, hundreds of stories that were in the public interest from the diplomatic cables, some — the fact that the U.S. was spying on the then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other U.N. officials, stories about Saudi plans to — or, Saudi desire for an attack on Iran, stories about what U.S. diplomats really thought about Arab dictators. In some ways, that contributed to the Arab Spring. Now, these are all acts of journalism, and they should be welcomed. That’s what journalists are supposed to do.
In the U.K., Assange has been — first he was held — he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and, as Amy said, he’s been in Belmarsh now for almost five years. But there’s very little coverage in the U.K. press on Assange. The idea that a journalist/publisher could be in a high-security jail and nobody’s paying much attention seems almost inconceivable to me. But it’s almost never reported. Apart from when he was forced or arrested and taken to Belmarsh, there’s been very little reporting. And there’s not much reporting in the U.S., either. There’s exceptions, like Ryan and The New York Times published a editorial in support of Assange, in conjunction with The Guardian , Le Monde and others. But these are rare events. You hardly ever hear anything in the States about Assange.
But this — he will be extradited. I’m pretty sure he will. I know the way the U.K. courts work. It’s politically motivated. That court will find — will agree to the extradition of Assange.
RYAN GRIM : Our next witness at the tribunal is John Kiriakou. He’s a journalist, whistleblower and former intelligence officer for the CIA . After leaving the CIA , Kiriakou became the first former CIA officer to confirm that the agency waterboarded detainees in the course of its so-called war on terror. In 2012, Kiriakou became the first CIA officer to be convicted of disclosing classified information and the only CIA agent to go to jail in connection with the U.S. torture program. Today he is the nation’s foremost — one of the nation’s foremost defenders of the First Amendment. Thank you so much.
JOHN KIRIAKOU : Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, friends. I am honored to be here to speak in support of Julian Assange. Amy said something very important, I think, in her introductory comments, and that is that Julian most likely will be extradited sooner rather than later. And I want to talk about that, because I think we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
So, in preparation for the worst, let’s talk about solitary confinement. First, I want to say unequivocally that the Justice Department is lying to everybody. Everybody. It is not up to the prosecutors to decide who goes to solitary and who doesn’t. That is the sole discretion of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and never the two shall meet. So, prosecutors can tell Julian’s attorneys all they want: “We promise he won’t be put in solitary. We promise he won’t be put in a communications management unit.” Those are empty promises.
So let’s talk about solitary confinement. Believe it or not, solitary confinement as a punishment was invented in the United States of America. In 1829, the government built a facility in Philadelphia — now it’s in downtown Philadelphia, back then it was out in the hinterland — called the Eastern State Penitentiary. It was a maximum-security penitentiary, Gothic in style, made of stone. And the idea was that if you take a criminal and put him in a 6-foot-by-10-foot cell with a bed, a chair, a bedpan and a Bible, and no human contact, he’ll spend all of his time reading the Bible, and he’ll come out as a reformed and good human being. But instead, everybody went insane. Literally, they went insane. And we never learned a lesson from that experience.
I want to share with you the words of just a few people who have spent time in solitary. Before I give you their words, I want to remind you that the United Nations has declared the U.S. practice of using solitary as a punishment to be a form of torture. That’s from the United Nations; it’s not from John. It’s a form of torture. Anything longer than 15 days is a form of torture. But in this country, we keep people in solitary confinement for, currently, as long as 44 years. Can you imagine 44 years with no human contact?
First I want to tell you about Cesar Villa. He is currently a prisoner in the Pelican Bay State Prison in California. He wrote this recently, following his 12th year in solitary confinement. He said, “Nothing can really prepare you for entering solitary. It’s a world unto itself, where cold, quiet and emptiness come together, seeping into your bones, and then eventually into your mind. The first week I told myself, 'This isn't so bad. I can do this.’ The second week, I stood outside in my underwear shivering as I was pelted with hail and rain. By the third week, I found myself squatting in a corner of the yard, filing my fingernails down over concrete walls. My sense of human decency dissipated with each day. At the end of the first year, my feet and hands were split open from the cold. I bled all over my clothes, my food, between my sheets. My sense of normalcy began to wane. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, looking back now, that’s when my mental unraveling must have begun then. My psyche had changed. I had gone insane. I would never be the same.”
Thomas Silverstein, who spent 28 years in solitary confinement at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, said, “My cell was so small that I could stand in one place and touch both walls simultaneously. The ceiling was so low that I could reach up and touch the hot light fixture. My bed took up the entire length of the cell, and there was no furniture otherwise. The walls were solid steel and painted white. The lights were always on. Shortly after I arrived, the prison staff began construction, adding more bars and other security measures to the cell while I was still in it. It’s hard to describe the horror I experienced during this construction process. As they built new walls around me, it felt like I was being buried alive. Due to the unchanging bright artificial lights and not having a wristwatch or a clock, I couldn’t tell if it was day or night. Frequently I would fall asleep, and when I woke up, I wouldn’t know if I had slept for five minutes or five hours. I had no idea what time of the day it was. I now know that I was housed there for about four years. But I would have believed it was more than a decade if that’s what somebody had told me. It seemed eternal and endless and immeasurable.” And just after he wrote those words, he died, still in solitary confinement.
One more person: William Blake spent 25 years in solitary. He said this: “Solitary is a sentence worse than death. I’ve experienced times so difficult and felt boredom and loneliness to such a degree that it seemed to be a physical thing inside of me — so thick it felt like it was choking me, trying to squeeze the sanity right out of my mind, the spirit from my soul, and whatever life was left in my body. I have seen and felt hope becoming like a foggy ephemeral thing, hard to get a hold of, even harder to keep a hold of as the years and then the decades disappeared behind me while I stayed trapped in the emptiness of solitary. I’ve seen minds slipping down the slope of sanity, descending into insanity. And I’ve been terrified that I would end up going like the guys around me that have cracked and become insane. It’s a sad thing to watch a human being go insane before your eyes because he can’t handle the pressure of the box and the pressure that the box exerts on your mind. But it’s sadder still to see the spirit shaken from the soul, and it’s more disastrous. Sometimes the prison guards find us hanging and blue. Sometimes our necks are broken when we jump from our beds, the sheet tied around the neck, that’s also wrapped around the grate covering the light in the ceiling, snapping taught with a pop. I’ve seen the spirit leaving men in solitary, and I’ve witnessed the results. And it’s a nightmare.”
That is what the plan is for Julian Assange. So, when they tell you, “No, no, no, we’re not going to put him — we promise we won’t put him in solitary confinement,” that has as much weight behind it as me promising that I won’t put him in solitary confinement. So, rest assured, they’re lying to us, just like they’re lying to him. So what do we do next? Thank you. What do we do next? Next is we have to keep fighting. Whether we fight Merrick Garland or Joe Biden or we fight on the airwaves to try to influence the jury, the fight really has just begun. Thank you.
RYAN GRIM : Thank you. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN : That was CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, speaking at the Belmarsh Tribunal. When we come back, we hear more testimony from journalists and human rights defenders.

AMY GOODMAN : This is Democracy Now! , democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report . I’m Amy Goodman. In this special broadcast, we’re airing excerpts from the Belmarsh Tribunal, which convened at the National Press Club in D.C. in early December. I co-chaired the tribunal with Ryan Grim of The Intercept .

AMY GOODMAN : Next up is Lina Attalah. She is the co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr , one of Egypt’s leading news outlets. In 2020, she was awarded the Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists. After we covered the U.N. climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, last year, we went to Cairo to Lina’s offices to interview her, incredibly brave journalist who had been jailed, who had been detained late last year — or, late last month. She was summoned to appear for questioning before the Cairo appeals prosecution for her courageous coverage of what has been happening in Gaza. For this reason, she could not make the trip to join us here at the Belmarsh Tribunal. She joins us now by video from Cairo.
LINA ATTALAH : Hi. My name is Lina Attalah. I’m a journalist based in Cairo. I’m also the founding editor of Mada Masr , an independent, also Cairo-based news website. I so happen to be facing right now prosecution for coverage we have done in the recent days about pressure being put on Egypt to accommodate Palestinians displaced in the current Israeli war in Gaza. Some of the charges I’m facing, which include publishing false news, could lend me some — a jail sentence.
But I also want to go back to 10 years ago and even more, when I was involved in covering cables revealed by WikiLeaks for this newsroom and for the previous newsroom I was working with. We so happened to have been some of the few publications that were involved in the cables coverage, especially cables addressing very local issues that would require contextualization, as well as further reporting to explain the information and value in the moment they were revealed. In fact, some of the cables I covered involved Egypt’s political management of the Sinai Peninsula, which has historically been the hoped-for site for the displacement of Palestinians of Gaza by Israel and its allies for years and years.
To keep covering this issue and many others in Egypt today means to constantly hunt for leaks, depending on the willful collusion of those who see the value of public interest and information hidden from them. In fact, on the sidelines of working on the WikiLeaks revealed by — on the leaks revealed by WikiLeaks, we learned that journalism is originally an act of collusion, breaking open the closed doors of knowledge guarded by the clerics and their secularized political successors today. So, WikiLeaks, in that sense, was a foundational moment for journalism.
But some of the leaks are cables coming from one of the most powerful political enterprises in the world, if not the most powerful. And that the price being paid for it are grave charges and endless prosecutions are telling facts of the ultimate limits to our public right for information. These are the limits that won’t be avoidable under democratic rule and liberal values triumphing the public right to know. These are the limits that power will always manage to push for. And these are the limits that would send those who challenge them to jail and assign them to ongoing pursual.
Today, and especially with the ongoing war next door, I feel that such references as freedom of expression, public interest, right to information, among other foundational references, can increasingly be parked aside as casualties of power. I am not fooled that these references can be activated in their absolute meaning or that they are enough to protect our practice as journalists or whistleblowers, or our rights as people, by and large. But I’m increasingly alarmed by the ease of the erosion in this moment, as generative as crises tend to be. I also hope that this is a moment of reckoning, where new intellectual frameworks and political strategies can emerge to protect our rights to share and receive crucial information, frameworks and strategies that can keep pushing the boundaries of knowledge and that can liberate Assange and all those divulging important secrets of power. Thank you very much.
AMY GOODMAN : Again, that’s Lina Attalah, a co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr . As she talks about the significance of WikiLeaks for journalism and democracy today, she has also been fighting for the release of the Egyptian political prisoner Alaa Abd El-Fattah and many other political prisoners who are held in Egypt, which helps to explain the enormous pressure she is under right now. We turn now to the next witness at the Belmarsh Tribunal, Abby Martin, investigative journalist, host of The Empire Files , an independent documentary and interview series reporting on conflicts, repression and the future of the First Amendment. She’s been active as an editor and international journalist for more than a decade, published several books and directed several movies, most recently, Gaza Fights for Freedom .
ABBY MARTIN : Thank you so much. It’s an honor to be on this panel and to be with all of you here today for this very important call to action.
The past eight weeks have been the deadliest on record for journalists, with 60 confirmed killed in Gaza so far. They are being targeted for assassination, many alongside their entire families. The reporters who remain say that their press vests, which should be their protective barrier from bombs and bullets, are actually what is marking them for murder. The genocide in Gaza has been exposed by these heroes. The only way the world knows the depth of crimes committed by the U.S. and Israel, things that would otherwise remain hidden for years, is because journalists are able to document them on their phones and instantly upload them for the world to see.
The Iraqi people did not have the capacity to film their reality when a crime of this scale was being committed to them. They had no ability to break through the lies and propaganda disseminated by our so-called free press. Instead, it was whistleblowers, like Sergeant Joe Darby, who leaked the infamous Abu Ghraib torture photos, which dealt a major blow to the U.S. war effort. Imagine for one second if the Bush administration locked up the CBS reporter who dared to publish those. Iraqis didn’t have social media, but they did have WikiLeaks, which finally showed the world what American forces had kept hidden for so long. Washington worked very hard to control where journalists could access and what they could and could not report. WikiLeaks was the antidote for that lack of free press during what was the greatest atrocity in the modern era. The Iraq War Logs forced Americans to confront what the United States was doing in our names. They gave proof to Iraqi society, the extent to which U.S. soldiers had been killing civilians. And the revelations made the occupation untenable. Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange helped end the Iraq War.
AMY GOODMAN : To our next witness, the legendary investigative reporter Mark Feldstein, currently holds the Richard Eaton chair of broadcast journalism at the University of Maryland, 20 years as an award-winning on-air investigative correspondent at outlets like CNN and ABC News.
MARK FELDSTEIN : Thank you. The prosecution of Julian Assange is unprecedented in American history. Publishing state secrets is not unprecedented. That’s common. It’s been going on thousands upon thousands of times since the 1790s. But never before has a publisher been thrown in prison for what he published. After September 11th, the government escalated prosecution of whistleblowers, the leakers, but never the journalists who published the information. That was seen as protected by the First Amendment and its clause protecting freedom of the press. This was known as the reporter-source divide. And so the Obama administration, which didn’t like the leaks any more than other administrations, prosecuted Chelsea Manning for these leaks, but not Julian Assange, because of the First Amendment.
That changed under Donald Trump. His administration administered a new and dangerous legal theory, using the espionage laws to imprison people for publishing true information about government abuses — Julian Assange. If you look at the indictment, it targets news gathering and publishing, by itself, as an act: nine counts of what they call unauthorized disclosure of national defense information — that’s publishing; seven counts of unauthorized obtaining or receiving of this information — that’s news gathering. In fact, they say that Assange, quote, “explicitly solicited … restricted material of political, diplomatic or ethical significance … precisely because of the value of that information.” That’s what journalists do. That’s what all good journalists do. That’s what I teach my journalism students to do. Even a top-level national security official from the Bush administration, Jack Goldsmith, said that this was obviously framed to mirror what journalists do. It’s not an accident. This is an attempt to criminalize investigative reporting, to criminalize national security journalism. And Julian Assange is the perfect defendant from the government’s standpoint, because he’s so unpopular. It’s easier to convict him as a publisher than the publisher of The New York Times , which also published this information, even as it opens the door to doing just that.
This case is about more than Julian Assange or journalism. It’s about the right of the citizens to get the information they need to participate in a democracy, to know what’s being done by the government, in our name, with our tax dollars. It was a Republican congressman, Rand Paul, who said of this case, “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are all in trouble.”

AMY GOODMAN : That was journalist Mark Feldstein, the chair of broadcast journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, speaking at the Belmarsh Tribunal. When we come back, we’ll hear testimony from ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, who’s the attorney for NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden. We’ll also hear from the late Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who spoke at the first Belmarsh Tribunal. Back in a minute.

AMY GOODMAN : This is Democracy Now! , democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report . I’m Amy Goodman. In this special broadcast, we’re airing excerpts of the Belmarsh Tribunal, which convened at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in early December. I co-chaired the tribunal with Ryan Grim of The Intercept .

AMY GOODMAN : Our next witness at today’s tribunal is Ben Wizner, lawyer, civil liberties advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union. Since July of 2013, he’s been the lead attorney for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. He’s also an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law. Ben.
BEN WIZNER : It’s an honor to be a member of this tribunal.
I want to do something a little bit different with my four or five minutes today. I want to speak to people who are not in this room and who would not be in this room; to people who would in fact disagree with what has been said and will be said today; to people who do not believe that WikiLeaks is one of the world’s indispensable journalistic organizations, and who regard Julian Assange not as a journalist, but as a chaos agent or, worse, a hacker; to people who don’t necessarily believe that American empire is the greatest threat to world peace, and who see America as largely a force for good in the world; to people who see no connection between the imprisonment of Julian Assange and the vital investigative journalism they read in America’s leading newspapers; to people who think Julian Assange should probably be locked up for conduct wholly unrelated to the charges in this case — in short, to most Americans, including almost every member of Congress and almost everyone who holds power in this city.
I want to say that if you think that what’s happening to Julian Assange has nothing to do with you, that you have no skin in this game, you are wrong. The Washington Post recently, in recent years, unveiled a slogan, “Democracy dies in darkness.” It’s a little bit grandiose. They’ve been mocked a bit for it. But can anybody doubt its truth? No government in the world willingly divulges evidence of its own misconduct. Even in democracies, we might say especially in democracies, where leaders have to face voters, people in power use every method at their disposal to conceal their misconduct, their scandals and their crimes. Every important fact we know about our government’s crimes, we know because the free press published the government’s secrets. The single most important role of the press in a democracy is to dig out the government secrets and to return them to their rightful owners: the public.
This prosecution seeks to recharacterize that vital role as a criminal conspiracy. For the first time in our modern history, the government is describing the publication of truthful information as a felony. And if you think the government will do that once and then be satisfied, you’re naive about how power works. The threat of prosecution will be in the air every time the government seeks to persuade a newspaper not to publish its classified secrets. And even if you think that’s not likely to happen with this president and this attorney general, take a moment to consider who the next president and attorney general might well be. This prosecution could hand a loaded weapon to someone who views our free press as an enemy of the people.
Let me close by speaking directly to the attorney general. Though I suspect he does not stream Democracy Now! or The Intercept , perhaps this footage or coverage of this footage will make its way to him. We know that this is a prosecution that you would not have initiated. We also know that you’re an institutionalist, and you don’t believe that the government should change its position just because it changes its attorney general. And I think we know that you do not want to have the historic mark of being the first attorney general to set the precedent that publication of truthful information can land journalists and publishers in prison. Julian Assange has been in a maximum-security prison for more than four years. Under any version of punishment, whatever you think he may have done wrong, enough is enough. And it’s possible — indeed, it’s vital — that we find a way to bring this case to a resolution without setting a precedent that will make this country less free. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN : Next up is Trevor Timm, co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, journalist, activist, legal analyst, who previously worked for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He’s the author of Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles .
TREVOR TIMM : Many panelists have already eloquently spoken about the fact that what Julian Assange is accused of is not a rarity in journalism. In fact, it’s what journalists from mainstream papers, from The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal , do almost daily, which is talk to sources about classified information, ask them for more information and publish that information. In fact, it’s written into their job responsibilities.
But when you talk to defenders of the Justice Department or spokespeople for the Justice Department, they will often — you know, they are unable to say unequivocally that this will not create a precedent that will allow them to go after those same journalists, but they will say, of course, “We would never do that.” And so I think it’s important to emphasize that this is not just a slippery slope argument or some theoretical exercise.
Currently, right now on the campaign trail, the leading candidate for the Republican Party, Donald Trump, has repeatedly told crowds of thousands of people that he would like to, quote-unquote, “jail” journalists. He has repeatedly, on social media, talked about how cable news operations are committing, quote-unquote, “treason” for criticizing him and reporting on things that he doesn’t like. And just the other day, one of his close allies talked about how, in the second Donald Trump administration, he will, quote-unquote, “go after” the media. And so, you know, I would ask anybody within the Justice Department currently, in the Democratic Party or in charge at the White House, “Is there anybody who would love more a precedent set in this Assange case that would allow a future president to go after newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post than Donald Trump?” After all, it’s not WikiLeaks or a WikiLeaks-like outfit that is publishing the most classified information in the United States today. It is those papers that I just named, and many other mainstream papers like them.
AMY GOODMAN : Last but not least, before we conclude our tribunal today, our witness is Rebecca Vincent, the director of campaigns for Reporters Without Borders, RSF , Reporters Sans Frontières, an international organization focused on safeguarding the right to freedom of information across the world. I very much appreciated when they came to my defense. When charges were brought against me for covering the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, RSF was there. Rebecca Vincent began her career at the State Department before leaving to dedicate her career to the defense of human rights and a free press. She’s a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and serves on the Advisory Network of the Media Freedom Coalition, the Magnitsky Awards Committee and the Advisory Council of the Foreign Policy Center.
REBECCA VINCENT : Thank you, Amy and Ryan, and also to Progressive International for bringing us all here together today. It’s a pleasure to be here on behalf of Reporters Without Borders, known internationally as Reporters Sans Frontières. So, if I say ” RSF ,” it’s because of our French acronym.
At RSF , we defend Julian Assange because of his contributions to journalism. The publication by WikiLeaks in 2010 of the leaked diplomatic and military documents informed extensive public interest reporting around the world, including by The New York Times , The Guardian , Le Monde , El País and Der Spiegel — of course, the five original media partners of WikiLeaks, who worked together to treat the leaked materials journalistically — but also reporting by hundreds of other media outlets around the world over the years. The publication of these materials exposed information in the public interest, including war crimes and human rights violations that to this day have never been prosecuted. Only the publisher is being pursued.
If the U.S. government succeeds in its efforts to secure Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States and bring him to trial here, he will be the first publisher prosecuted under the Espionage Act. This outdated law has itself become the focus of growing calls for reform, in part because it lacks a public interest defense. This means that no publisher, journalist or journalistic source accused in this way could defend their actions as serving the public interest. Although the U.S. government puts much emphasis on other accusations against Assange, it is important to note that the bulk of this case is based on Espionage Act charges, 17 of the 18 counts against Julian Assange. Prosecuting him on these charges would set an alarming precedent that could change the very future of journalism, as it would pave the way for similar prosecutions of journalists and media organizations around the world. These charges should be immediately dropped, and the Espionage Act should be reformed to ensure such a case can never be brought again.
As part of our global campaign for the release of Julian Assange, RSF has monitored the full extradition proceedings in London courts, which commenced in February 2020. Gaining access to these hearings was not easy. And we were the only NGO that fought our way into court to monitor every stage of this process. During the first instance proceedings in particular, we faced an extensive and evolving set of barriers to observation that violate the principles of open justice and the right to a fair trial. I want to emphasize that my colleagues and I have never experienced such difficulty monitoring any other court case in any country, even during the pandemic. We persevered because it was so important to bear witness to this historically important case.
And in court, what we observed was disturbing. During the first instance proceedings, Julian Assange was held in a glass cage at the back of the courtroom, where at times it was clear he had trouble following proceedings and could not easily consult with his legal representation. Even more disturbing is the fact that Assange has not been allowed to attend court in person ever since. The last time he was seen outside of Belmarsh prison was during a bail hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on January 6, 2021, nearly three years ago. He is now only permitted to join court hearings via a video link from prison, and at times he has looked very unwell in doing so. Alarmingly, we learned that he suffered a mini stroke in prison during the appellate hearing in his case in October 2021. This is an important reminder of his state of mental health and physical health, which remain at great risk, which is exacerbated the longer he is in detention, and would be brought into even more dire risk in conditions of extradition. So, when we say that the possible — that the extradition of Julian Assange is a possible matter of life or death, that really cannot be ignored.
Fast-forwarding to today, we await news of Day X, the final U.K. court hearing that represents the last possible stage in domestic proceedings, bringing Julian Assange dangerously close to extradition. If there’s any glimmer of hope, it perhaps lies with the ongoing diplomatic negotiations between the U.S. and Australian governments over Assange’s fate. We again urge both governments to commit to reaching a political solution as a matter of urgent priority that would allow for Assange’s release without further delay and prevent his extradition, with a guarantee of no further time to be served in prison in the U.K., the U.S., Australia or anywhere. The past 13 years cannot be undone, but these states can correct the situation now and put an end to the relentless persecution of Julian Assange, which endangers journalism and global press freedom. It’s more crucial now than ever before to unite in our global call to free Assange and to stand up for the principles at stake.

AMY GOODMAN : That was Rebecca Vincent, director of campaigns at Reporters Without Borders, testifying at the Belmarsh Tribunal in early December in D.C. The High Court of Justice in London will hear what may be Julian Assange’s final appeal on February 20th and 21st.

We end today’s show with the words of the famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. He died at the age of 92 in June. He was one of Julian Assange’s most vocal supporters. In 2019, he appeared on Democracy Now! a day after the Justice Department indicted Assange on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act.

DANIEL ELLSBERG : Yesterday is a day that will be — live in the history of journalism, of law in this country and of civil liberties in this country, because it was a direct attack on the First Amendment, an unprecedented one. There hasn’t actually been such a significant attack on the freedom of the press, the First Amendment, which is the bedrock of our republic, really, our form of government, since my case in 1971, 48 years ago. But this is — I was indicted as a source. And I warned newsmen then that that would not be the last indictment of a source, if I were convicted. …
But my warning really was that it wasn’t going to stop there, that almost inevitably there would be a stronger attack directly on the foundations of journalism, against editors, publishers and journalists themselves. And we’ve now seen that as of yesterday. That’s a new front in President Trump’s war on the free press, which he regards as the enemy of the people. …
They started out with a charge that made Julian look something other than a normal journalist. The help to hacking a password sounded like something that, even in the Digital Age, perhaps most journalists wouldn’t do, and that would hope to separate him from the support of other journalists.
In this case, when they had to lay out their larger charge, this is straight journalism. They mention, for instance, that he solicited investigative material, he solicited classified information — terribly, he didn’t just passively receive it over the transom. I can’t count the number of times I have been solicited for classified information, starting with the Pentagon Papers, but long after that, and that’s by every member of the responsible press that I dealt with — the Times , the Post , AP, you name it. That’s journalism.

AMY GOODMAN : Famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. He died in June at the age of 92. He testified at the first Belmarsh Tribunal at the National Press Club last January. To see the full video of both Belmarsh tribunals [ Jan. 20, 2023 and Dec. 9, 2023 ], visit democracynow.org.

And that does it for today’s show. Democracy Now! is produced with Mike Burke, Renée Feltz, Deena Guzder, Messiah Rhodes, Nermeen Shaikh, María Taracena, Tami Woronoff, Charina Nadura, Sam Alcoff, Tey-Marie Astudillo, John Hamilton, Robby Karran, Hany Massoud and Sonyi Lopez. Our executive director is Julie Crosby. Special thanks to Becca Staley, Jon Randolph, Paul Powell, Mike Di Filippo, Miguel Nogueira, Hugh Gran, Denis Moynihan, David Prude, Dennis McCormick, Matt Ealy, Emily Andersen and Buffy Saint Marie Hernandez. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks so much for joining us.

Punished for Exposing War Crimes? U.K. Approves Assange Extradition to U.S., Faces 175 Years in Prison

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