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Rebecca Bates: The ALA Reminds Us Why We Kind of Need the First Amendment

January 12, 2011

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By **Rebecca Bates**

rsz_bates.jpgThe American Library Association has proven that at least they have their shit together. That’s because yesterday morning they passed a “WikiLeaks-related resolution” that takes a positive stand on the public’s right to government “transparency” and an “access to information.” You know, buzzwords that are, like, essential to a truly democratic society.

They quote the ruling from New York Times Co. v. United States (1971), the case that decided that the Nixon Administration’s attempt to prevent publication of the Pentagon Papers violated the First Amendment: “[T]he guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.” They are firm on this point, as we all should be, acknowledging that “current and former government officials estimate that 50 percent to 90 percent of classified information is either overclassified or should not have been classified at all.” These bookworms invite debate, while at the same time making it known that libraries should be a place where information can be consumed freely—that is, “within the boundaries of U.S. law.”

The full resolution can be found here.

Copyright 2011 Rebecca Bates

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Rebecca Bates is the blog editor at Guernica. Read her last Q&A here. Read her last post here.

To read more blog entries from GUERNICA click HERE .

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One comment for Rebecca Bates: The ALA Reminds Us Why We Kind of Need the First Amendment

  1. Comment by memoirpoet007 on January 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    The “astute point”(s); transparency in government; Wilileaks is like the Pentagon Papers which was deemed legal to publish; “classified” information isn’t always worthy of the category; and the public has a right to know. The informality of speech is a question of voice, tone, humor and in no way changes the depth of the content. Bravo.

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