How are political and civil liberties treated outside of liberal democracies? Here is how one country handles freedom of speech and assembly: Uzbekistan is classified as a presidential republic but functions as an autocracy. In Uzbekistan, according to Freedom House, private discussion has long been monitored by traditional neighborhood organizations coupled with national systems for public surveillance and control. The government also engages in extensive monitoring of electronic communications.
By contrast, in the United States, the first amendment to our Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble …” We can say what we like – almost anywhere where we like – out loud, in the media, or on the internet. The courts have repeatedly upheld these rights despite many attempts by the government and some citizens to overturn them.
 Freedom House. https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/uzbekistan
 There is a restriction on assembly in areas under Secret Service protection, whether temporary as in a political campaign rally, or permanent, as in the case of the White House grounds. See 18 USC 1752: Restricted Building or Grounds. http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?edition=2011&req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title18-section1752
Image: Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Unknown.
Excerpted from Democracy is Precious.
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