Toronto Metropolitan University
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'You have the right to remain silent' an exploration of public perceptions of free speech

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posted on 2021-05-24, 06:50 authored by Natalie Carragher
This study explores the online public's reaction to the National Security Agency's surveillance Prism programs in light of the confidential government document leakage to the public on June 7, 2013. Through an in-depth qualitative analysis of top recommended user comments to the news article published in The Guardian describing the technicalities of the Prism program, public perceptions of civil liberties like free speech in new media communication are explored. Overarching themes and salient discourses on the public's understanding of their democratic rights emerged in the analysis. The findings revealed a number of competing views of liberty, and while the majority of the users opposed government surveillance and agreed it was in violation of their rights, further examination revealed a temptation to withdraw from using new media communication susceptible to government surveillance, thereby hindering the Internet's ability to act as a valuable arena for public debate as afforded by new media communication





  • Master of Professional Communication


  • Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP