The most famous defense of free speech in the Western world hails from John Stuart Mill.
The 18th century philosopher was a free speech absolutist. Mill argued that truth prevails when there is unfettered debate. Mill’s argument is delineated in his essay, On Liberty, written more than 150 years ago.
Till this day, borders between permissible and impermissible forms of speech are highly contested, but media is allotted special protection. In a 1964 landmark case, New York Times v. Sullivan, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that to be able to sue journalists, aggrieved public figures need to be able to prove “actual malice.”