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Friday 9 December 2016

Saluting 'Forbidden Voices' who defend free speech

Brave whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and journalists often risk their lives to uncover the truth, writes Carol Hunt

Published 29/12/2013 | 02:59

Edward Snowden: revealed the existence of mass surveillance programmes
Edward Snowden: revealed the existence of mass surveillance programmes
Members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, and Maria Maria Alyokhina giving their first news conference in Moscow, Russia, after their release from prison after nearly two years. AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

AS Edward Snowden said so succinctly during Channel 4's alternative Christmas Day message: "Privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be."

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 In exposing details of electronic surveillance by US and British spy services, Snowden has ignited a debate on the value of free speech and why it must be protected.

Earlier last week the National Archives released documents relating to our own surveillance "Watergate", or what former journalist Geraldine Kennedy called "the most difficult time in my personal and professional life". Thirty years ago it was formally confirmed by the new Minister for Justice, Michael Noonan, that both Kennedy and Bruce Arnold's phones had been tapped -- Kennedy's from July to November 1982 under a new category of "national security" (she had been writing about dissent in the Fianna Fail ranks).

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