Title: Secrets and agents
Issue: Balancing freedom of expression and national security of a country
Syllabus: General Studies-II - Governance - Important Aspects of Governance-Transparency, Accountability
Julian Assange of Wikileaks was arrested on charges related to theft of classified (official) information from government computers.
Julian Assange is wanted in US for conspiring with army intelligence officer to broke into secret government computer network and theft of classified data.
Ecuador provided asylum in its London embassy for seven years, but withdrew it citing “repeated violations of international conventions”.
Voices of liberal America are asking for his interrogation, not for the conspiracy but for his links with Russian actors that helped Donald Trump in 2016 elections.
Also, the indictment against Assange is based on alleged conversation with army officer for a computer break, that ultimately failed.
Freedom of speech
If Assange is a ‘journalist’ of Wikileaks, is his freedom of expression being constrained by the US authorities for stealing government documents?
With increased nationalism in politics in many countries the arrests of whistleblowers and anti-secrecy advocates will negatively impact freedom of speech.
Freedom of expression and threat to national security should be balanced while invoking conspiracy or espionage charges.
Take home points
Any attempt to suppress the freedom of speech may weaken the democracy itself.
|#||Previous UPSC Question||Marks||Year|
|1||In the integrity index of Transparency International, India stands very low. Discuss briefly the legal, political, economic, social and cultural factors that have caused the decline of public morality in India.||2016|
|2||In the light of the Satyam Scandal (2009), discuss the changes brought in corporate governance to ensure transparency, accountability. (200 words) 15 marks||2015|
|3||Suggest measures for the eradication of wide spread corruption in Public Life in India. (250 words)||2003|
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