Freedom of Speech – In Layman Terms.


Read more about the pros, cons, benefits about one of the most debated topics in today’s times- Freedom of Speech..

Freedom of speech is one of the most talked about topics in the recent times. With so many debates about the use, misuse, manipulations and contradictions of this particular phrase, one actually wonders the power it yields in today’s world.

freedom of speech

So what exactly is this freedom of speech?

In simple words it can be defined as the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc.
At first glance, this ‘freedom’ seems as one of our basic right. After all why are our voices for? Right?
Not too long ago, people used to accept and follow whatever rules they had been told. They used to behave as told. But with the advent of multiculturalism and globalization, people have actually started changing their viewpoint by adapting themselves as smarter, quicker and effective communicators.

For an idealist, freedom of speech is an absolute must and that it has to be conferred on each and every individual regardless of few minor compromises. After all even our constitution has stated that in Article 19-a , that ‘all citizens shall have the freedom of speech and expression’.
Without doubt freedom of speech is an essential commodity and one can go on and on as to why it is one of the most important right by talking about shared responsibilities, enhancing self esteem, getting new ideas to foster development and encouraging social evolution.
But is it really all that rosy out there?
Here I would like to mention few negative points about this particular right-

  • You can brainwash people for jihad and mass murder. After all mouth fuming jihadis too enjoy this sacred freedom
  • You can spread rumors and ruin reputations just for the hell of it. Imagine some heart broken journalist making false sexual harassment allegations about someone on national TV. Who cares what happens later, for the time being the person is ruined.
  • You can tell terrorists secrets of making a nuclear bomb. This is how North Korea got it nukes, probably.
  • You can spill your countries army and intelligence secrets to enemies. History is actually full of such stories. Just why was Russia ready to give asylum to Snowden?
    And later you can say, “In my opinion the other country needed to know these facts in order to make a well informed decision about their war efforts”.
  • You can promote sick ideas like apartheid and racism. People actually did this in the past, thats why we had to impose restrictions on their so called “Freedom”.
  • You can tell a small kid how cool cocaine is. And probably destroy his/her life and yours too just because you used your freedom of speech irresponsibly.
  • You can have fun by calling airports everyday and making a bomb scare. Later you can defend yourself by saying,”Hey…I got freedom of speech. In my opinion there was a bomb because I dreamt about it. How dare you arrest me?”

The point I am trying to make is that there should be a line somewhere.

Yes, without freedom of speech, growth of society and civilization is not possible. Every great idea faces opposition, at least initially.

So should we in the name of restrictions stop criticizing rationality?

Who will draw the line to mark what’s reasonable and what’s offensive and illegal? Not me of course, not Charlie Hebdo of course or for that matter not any single person, organization or country.

It’s a collective responsibility. Every one should just check themselves and stop checking others. It’s always right to voice a difference of opinion or speak your mind but not always prudent.