FREEDOM OR SECRECY by James Russell Wiggins


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At a time when a choice between the two is fraught with dangers, this further definition of the rights of the press world is appropriate and challenging. Mr. Wiggins, executive editor of The Washington Post and Times has studied his subject well in history and in contemporary society, legally and practically, and in his chapters on the various rights- to get information, to print without prior restraint or fear of reprisal, to have access to printing facilities and to distribute information- he traces the acquisition of these rights through British and American law and appraises their present status in the United States. Often, the picture is a depressing one, which gives reason to the writing of the book, for Mr. Wiggins feels these rights are on a downward trend after three centuries of progress. Because of military crises, of changes in government structure and expansion of government powers, and because of a declining faith in theories once held dear, we are moving towards a secrecy which will do more harm through the misinformation it breeds than truth can ever do through its concurrent risks. Obvious as this may seem to many, it is a principle that needs the kind of articulate restatement it is given here in a book that, it is hoped , will have its effect as a readable study for general readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1956
Publisher: Oxford