Political and Civil Liberties Elsewhere 1

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.[1]  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.[2] 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[3] – 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.

[1] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Uzbekistan#Political_ parties_and_elections

[2] Freedom House. https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/uzbekistan

[3] 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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