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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Political Science

Degree Name

Thesis (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded



Libel and slander United States


Freedom of expression is an essential core of a well- functioning, iree and open society. But, for practical reasons, the freedom of speech and press cannot be given an absolute value in a society of multiple freedoms. Other values and societal interests inevitably conflict with the freedom of expression. A malicious lie, for instance, not misinforms the public? it may also seriously destroy an individual's reputation. Or, publishing statements about a person's private life may constitute an interference with his right to privacy, the right to be left alone. Surely, too, there is a prime interest in the public's awareness of governmental activity; but, publishing an unauthorized disclosure of military secrets and governmental documents during wartime might easily jeopardize national security. Thus, in a society which values conflicting and competing interests, countless situations necessarily arise in which the particular circumstances demand a curb on the freedom of expression. Providing the freedom of speech and press with an unbounded license to trample over other social values will not only stifle the purpose of free expression, but will also endanger the health of a free society.