Freedom of Speech

U.S. Constitution

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech..."

First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Limits to Free Speech

In 2007, a 13-year old girl from Missouri committed suicide after malicious comments were posted to her MySpace account.

The mother of another young girl had been posing as a 16-year old boy who was interested in Megan, and had then started posting the malicious comments.


  • Should freedom of speech extend to this type of interaction?
  • Do you have a responsibility for how other people respond/react to your speech?

To read about it, go here:

For more recent examples:

Cyberbullying and a Student's Suicide

As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-up

An Exercise in Free Speech?

The Colbert Report, The Word - Wikiality

  • Do you have a responsibility to enter correct information?
  • Should your ability to say (or type) whatever you want be limited in any way?
  • Do you trust that other people are using their freedom of speech responsibly?

Wikileaks - This could take up an entire class discussion. As it is, read this overview of Wikileaks and think of how it plays into freedom of speech (and privacy).

The Tucson shooting of 2011
- Talks of freedom of speech swirl around this horrible tragedy. What role does freedom of speech play in an environment of vitriolic and divisive speech by politicians and media outlets? Should freedom of speech carry with it a certain amount of responsibility?