Freedom of expression is something that many people take for granted, but freedom of speech is not a right that everyone has. Some countries have laws that limit freedom of expression in order to control what people say and do. In this essay, we will discuss freedom of speech and how it affects freedom of expression.
The right to express one’s thoughts or ideas freely using any of the available modes of communication is known as freedom of expression. However, inaccurate or ambiguous claims should not cause intentional harm to other people’s personalities or ranks through deliberate falsehoods. Speech, writing, and art are three different ways for individuals to communicate their ideas. In order to avoid disputes between various people, freedom of expression, unlike freedom of thought, may be limited by the relevant authorities in every society.
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The degree to which this limitation or ban is implemented varies from country to country, depending on the current government. Every person has the right to seek information, gain access to and provide a wide range of views, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The issue of free speech has been contentious, especially when it comes to political issues. If the views aired by a group can cause direct harm to other people, a government is thought to have the authority to prevent citizens from congregating together in order to voice their opinions. However, if one achieves more beneficial consequences by interfering than by standing aside, it is an exception. There should be total freedom of expression on all issues, regardless of the subject being discussed, in order to evaluate the potentiality of a gain or a loss.
The purpose for which ideas are expressed and the way in which we evaluate what is genuine or false may both be taken into account when weighing arguments for complete freedom of expression. According to Mill (Eisenach, 2004), the opportunity to express one’s views provides humanity a rare opportunity to correct a mistake with the truth if the concept presented turns out to be true.
In the case that the view turns out to be incorrect, people stand a chance of gaining a better understanding of known reality by collaborating with an error. As a result, freedom of speech is beneficial to society since it strives for progress and its restriction inhibits individuals from achieving more.
We display ourselves as beyond reproach if we restrict or ban expression of an opinion when it could be genuine. We think that everything we know is true, therefore any ideas that question this truth must be debunked. People or authorities might be culpable in some circumstances. For example, what we consider to be good or wrong may not actually be so.
People who could have been confused established the criteria for defining right and wrong. To establish a limit, one must distinguish between assurance and truth. Our conviction that a certain notion is false does not excuse its expression. Such an idea would not only validate our confidence in the opinion being incorrect, but it also demonstrates our perfection.
If the limitation of individuals’ freedom of expression in issues like racism is based on the assurance that man does not lose any advantage, this sureness should be backed by the freedom itself. We can only consider ourselves to be certain when there haven’t been opposing beliefs voiced challenging our claims. As a result, we must provide space for conflicting viewpoints in order to enhance our degree of certainty.
There are governments that prohibit certain ideas from being expressed not because they are incorrect, but rather because they are deemed harmful to society. Mill claims that in such a circumstance, the danger of the asserted views is debatable. The only way to confirm whether or not an opinion is dangerous is to let it be expressed freely.
Furthermore, if the opinion that is being restricted is correct, then the competing viewpoint advocated by the government must be incorrect. Over time, all false ideas have proven to be unhelpful. As a result, a government that prefers to maintain a mistaken belief rather than a hazardous truth does not act in its people’s best interests.
In many situations, the blocked perspective is a mistake. However, most of these errors do contain a grain of truth. The present viewpoint on each of the issues, on the other hand, frequently does not include the whole truth. An opportunity to discover more facts presents itself by listening to viewpoints from others on the issue.
In conclusion, it is important for individuals to have a clear sense of what they want from life and how they will achieve it. In business, this may produce an organizational structure that is vastly different from the one you currently have in place. You can build a new knowledge base by adopting processes from other industries while keeping your target market in mind.
While the methods of communicating with customers may change significantly under these conditions, there’s no need to think about anything else when implementing these techniques if you’re not certain about your position yet. The more generic term “brand” may be used interchangeably with “positioning,” while some experts recommend placing a premium on establishing specific goals before going into detail (Bhargava, 2008).
A vague notion of truth, on the other hand, might be viewed as weak. If the statement being uttered is entirely correct, it may not be judged so conclusively. To establish confidence, these ideas must be opposed by other logical viewpoints in order to expose the supporting evidence. Those who believe in their views are expected to provide robust evidence in support of them (Matravers, 2001).
An organization has the right to express contrary opinions if it believes in the rationality of its ideas. If any existing political party is confident in its views on economic development, for example, it should not be afraid of an opposing party with contradictory ideas. After all, their position is based on verifiable evidence (O’Rourke, 2001). Finally, the competition between various views broadens our understanding of our beliefs. We are now able to understand what is expected of us and are therefore able to take action. Human opinions lack any drive; instead, debates about them provide additional fuel to the fire.
Holding conservative beliefs only serves to obstruct our embrace of alternative possibilities, as we’ve seen in the previous section (Jones, 2001). As a result, opposition exhibited through freedom of speech provides an exit door for open-mindedness while also posing a problem for hypocrisy and logical slowness.
The absence of restrictions on people’s freedom to abuse allows for the exchange of error for truth, as well as the clarification of current reality. It also underpins our trust in beliefs we consider true and increases our openness and thoughtfulness. It ensures that those entrusted with government leadership have rational beliefs that benefit the country’s citizens rather than harmful consequences. Rather than producing bad effects, free discussion and analysis of various viewpoints will lead to human progress.
Freedom of Speech Taken from People
Many individuals throughout the world are silenced from expressing their views. These individuals live in constant anxiety of what might happen if they speak up. This lack of a voice goes against one’s inalienable right to freedom of speech, which is defined as “the legal right to express one’s opinion freely” (Merriam-Webster, 2020). These restrictions on free speech can be combated by utilizing government checks and balances and having laws that safeguard such rights.
Justice Background Information
Free speech is an essential component of human existence, and when it is restricted, so are other basic rights. Justice refers to “the greatest possible equality in the liberties associated with basic rights and obligations for all members of society” (Pomerleau).
The lack of justice is a distributive justice concern and refers to “the fairness of the distribution of something among several people or groups. Whatever is distributed or divided can be a benefit—such as money for labor—or it can be a burden, such as taxes, household chores, or homework” (What are the…). Rawls’ view was that ‘The essential liberties intended are those civil rights recognized by our law—free speech…’ (Pomerleau). Free speech is a critical topic, and it should be addressed on a regular basis to ensure that everyone has access to it.
Issue Background Information
People are losing their freedom to speak without fear in many regions where there is a powerful government. Dictatorial governments or locations where one person has absolute control are more vulnerable to free speech loss. People are unable on these bases to express their opinions or ideas about issues. If they do, they risk being punished. People are also desensitized and oblivious of the existence around them in these areas.
The novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury took away the freedom of speech from individuals in his fantasy world. Books are forbidden and anyone who possesses one will be burned to ashes by firemen in this book. People will not be able to learn if books are banned, ‘Maybe the books can get us halfway out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn mistakes.’ (Bradbury, 1953 p. 70) And without learning, society will stagnate.
People who live in a world of suppression become confused. “Granger patted Montag on the arm. “Welcome back from the dead,” she said” (Bradbury, 1953, p. 143). Not only is free speech restricted in Bradbury’s alternative universe, but it is also restricted in our own. People’s rights are frequently violated all over the world, particularly in nations like China that have great power. “The majority of China’s 650 million Internet surfers oppose Xi’s internet censorship” (China since 1949, 2018).
Furthermore, in these locations, the authorities have a lot of power and will not allow the people any. “Concerns arose when China announced it would be scrapping term limits for the president in February 2018. ” (China since 1949, 2018) A society or world devoid of freedom of speech undoubtedly has its benefits and drawbacks.
There are numerous things that may be done or implemented to decrease the number of individuals who lose their right to free speech each day in China and across the world. The first step is to establish a checks and balance system to prevent one individual from depriving everyone else of their rights. This would be carried out by the government, with certain elements determined by the public.
As shown in Chart A, a three-branch government structure maintains equilibrium. The U.S.’s three-branch system is used to guarantee that everyone does his or her task and that no one exceeds their authority. By employing this method, one individual’s power is reduced while another person’s rights are preserved.
Chart A. Make laws that demand everyone be given such rights. “Thomas Jefferson, in 1776, wrote the American Declaration of Independence, which stated that ‘all men are created equal’ and that ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,’ including ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.’
These rules would be similar to those in the United States’ Constitution. They would be produced and carried out by the government, with the judicial branch using the three-branch system to enforce them. These may both be compared to the United States since they have both been implemented and used to guarantee free speech for everyone.
Opposition to the Solution
The benefits of free speech are indisputable, but there are others who would disagree and say that individuals should not have freedom of expression. They will argue that unrestricted debate leads to a divided nation. “They are also fundamentally opposed to one another, implying that the ongoing debate about what constitutes acceptable discourse is driving Germans further apart” (Bittner, 2019). To illustrate how splitting up could have been avoided if no one spoke out, they utilize the slide division.
They will also argue that adopting Western systems would not work in Eastern cultures since people from the East don’t share the same concepts as those from the West. “Muslim leaders were in unison at the United Nations this week, arguing that the West was hiding behind its defense of freedom of speech and ignoring cultural sensitivities following anti-Islam slurs that had raised concerns about a widening East-West cultural divide” (At U.N., Muslim world…, 2012). These types of statements instill doubt in people’s minds that any assistance from Europe can be provided to countries in Asia.
Rebuttal to the Opposition
While the cases made to restrict speech are correct, they are false because free speech is required in a society for it to function and develop. “The twin concepts of equality and freedom encouraged both abolitionism and the feminist movement in the nineteenth century” (Human rights: Should We…). Free speech also opens the door for other people to obtain additional rights and benefits. Free speech encourages people to work together to improve the state of humanity. It doesn’t cause division, because it makes people collaborate in order to change the world for the better.
Using concepts from the United States, such as checks and balances, and laws, censorship and loss of free speech may be avoided. Free speech is critical to the viability of a society. The checks and balance method and legislation have worked in the United States, so everyone has freedom of speech. Places that allow free speech enjoy the benefits of having free speech. A world where everyone enjoys freedom of expression is unquestionably a better one.
WHY IS FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IMPORTANT?
The right to freedom of expression is protected in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which outlines the fundamental rights that everyone is entitled to. It was later protected by a slew of international and regional treaties. Freedom of speech has long been an important aspect of Amnesty International’s efforts, and it is critical in holding powerful individuals accountable. Freedom of expression also underpins other human rights, such as the freedom to think, believe, and practice religion – all things that allow these rights to thrive.
It is closely connected to the freedom of association, which protects your right to form and join clubs, organizations, trade unions, or political parties with whomever you choose; and the right to peaceful assembly, which allows you to participate in a peaceful protest or public meeting. These very liberties, on the other hand, are regularly assaulted by governments that wish to limit dissent.
In some instances, people are imprisoned for exercising their right to free speech. For example, in Egypt, it is now exceedingly hazardous to criticize the government. The authorities arrested at least 113 persons throughout 2018 on a variety of preposterous grounds including satire, social media postings, sports team support, sexual harassment reporting, movie editing and giving interviews.
Those arrested have been charged with “membership of a terrorist organization” and “the dissemination of false news.” Those who were detained for months before being tried by military courts received harsh punishments, despite the fact that Egypt’s military tribunals are inherently unfair.
A free media that reports on the issues that concern us and influence our lives is an important component of any rights-respecting society. Reporters in dozens of countries, such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Venezuela, among others, face persecution and assaults. In June 2019, Tanzania’s parliament rushed through the Written Laws Bill, which would entrench censorship and a slew of other abuses. Journalists in Tanzania already operate within the confines of a media law that states that “news or issues of national importance as directed by the government shall be broadcast or published.”
In the Philippines, a libel trial against Maria Ressa, the executive editor of internet news outlet Rappler, began in July 2019. After Rappler published comprehensive reports examining some of the thousands of extrajudicial killings committed by police and unidentified armed people with Duterte’s encouragement during drug-related operations, she was arrested in February 2019 on bogus libel charges.
Her situation has been called an assault on media freedom by many commentators. Repression may get worse during conflict, as it did in Burma, where journalists seeking to document the murder of Rohingya men and boys by security forces were arrested and imprisoned before being set free under international pressure.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Freedom of speech or expression applies to all kinds of ideas, including those that may be highly offensive. While worldwide law protects freedom of speech, certain types of speech can legitimately be limited by the same legislation – for example, when they infringe on the rights of others, advocate hatred and incite discrimination or violence.
However, while these compliments are well-intentioned, any restrictions on freedom of expression must be laid down by legislation, safeguard the interests of other people or society, and be clearly essential for that objective.
Twitter is a platform where women are increasingly being subjected to violence and abuse, according to Amnesty International’s research from this year. Instead of the site being a safe haven for women where their voices may be amplified, Twitter drives them to self-censor what they say and limit their interactions. By failing to adequately investigate and respond to reports of violence and abuse in a timely manner, Twitter has failed in its duty as an organization to respect women’s rights online.