This photograph investigates the tension in the United States between the First Amendment, which enshrines the right to free speech, and the growing perception that individuals’ free speech rights are being increasingly curtailed. Practices such as the “global gag rule,” which censors employees of non-governmental organizations from discussing abortions and the arrests and aggressive prosecution of those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, North Dakota have drawn criticism from members of the U.S. Congress as well as human rights and civil rights groups. This curtailment in individual speech rights comes in contrast to the growing entitlement of corporations’ free speech rights. In 2010, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United case granted expanded First Amendment free speech rights to corporations, thus allowing them to spend unlimited funds in municipal, state, and federal elections. This ruling has led to a dramatic increase in political campaign funding by corporations and has been viewed by many as a controversial means for wealthy business owners to dominate political discourse in the US.
Marcus Escribano is an American photography student from Danbury, Connecticut. His work was part of the Rome exhibition of “The Image of the Savage, and has also been in several publications, including Art Reveal and CreativPaper.