Foreign Policy

Though less so in recent years, the United States has often sought to expand freedom of expression beyond its borders as a condition of its relations with other countries. Is it right to do so? As speech freedoms are threatened abroad by increasingly authoritarian leaders — and those who embolden them — more and more individuals are likely to be prevented from telling the truth about conditions in their countries. Often inadvertently, U.S. leaders have also complained about Americans’ freedom to criticize, oblivious to the message this sends to foreign leaders.

Reflection Questions

  1. Should the United States be pressing other countries to follow its lead on Free Speech and other First Amendment freedoms, as a condition of diplomatic relations, or would that amount to cultural imperialism?
  2. Have unauthorized data dumps of classified information on national security harmed America’s standing in the world?
  3. To what extent should journalists consult with their government sources about whether information they are about to publish could endanger national security or imperil Americans’ safety?


The entries on the Free Speech Tracker can be classified into many themes, including the 12 listed below; most entries relate to several different themes. Click on a box to bring up a list of entries related to that theme, or select two or more to narrow the list down. You may also click or unclick the categories below this box to make the lists specific to Education, Civil Society, Government, or any combination of the three.



Tracker Entries