Freedom of Speech Should Have Limits

Subject: Media
Type: Evaluation Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 780
Topics: Journalism, Government

Communication is an important tool to every individual. It helps one to express his or her views as well as to raise concerns about activities or behaviors that are unwanted. In the constitutions of many countries, if not all, there are laws that give people freedom of speech or expression. Since people are tempted to misuse this freedom, censorship is required to provide conditions that can prevent one from misusing their freedom of speech. This synthesis essay tries to prove that freedom of expression should have limits since without limits people will suffer through exploitation, others especially young children will have bad morals. This would greatly affect the society in which people live in.

In this essay, different sources were used which include Edward L. Murrow’s speech ‘wires and lights in a box’. Edward Murrow was a journalist employed by Columbian Broadcasting system. He was deeply concerned about the morals impacted to the society by TV programs and radio broadcasting. His speech highlights the effects of moneymaking machines (TV and radio) and he offers solutions on what TV stations should air and what radio stations should broadcast to citizens in order to promote good morals, culture, and heritage in the society. Another source used is ‘the culture of shut up’ by Jon Lovett (2014). Lovett’s article is about the First amendment and freedom of speech. He says that the right to freedom of speech starts and ends with the First Amendment but people’s ability to listen keenly and accept what other people disagree, protects freedom of speech. The third source used is ‘the future of free speech’ by Tim Wu (2014). His writing brings out concerns about communications facilities and channels that instill bad morals in the society. His writing is slightly similar to Murrow’s speech. The final source used is ‘The Fall and Rise of Partisan Journalism’ by James L. Baughman (2011).  This article talks of biasness portrait by journalists. He says that journalists have obligation to educate citizens and give them truthful information. They should avoid biasness by providing both sides of any coverage they make. 

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Murrow (1958) says that TV programs should not take advantage of their freedom of speech to air programs that may lead to moral degradation. He campaigns for good morals in the society and that TVs and radios have the duty to educate and provide entertainment to its citizens. Similarly, Tim Wu echoes Murrow by saying that, productions that can lower moral standards of the citizens who see it have no room to air or broadcast such. He set up code of conduct for film industries that bars them from producing videos, pictures, movies or programs that would instill bad morals to viewers. Jon Lovett, through his article, opposes Tim Wu and Murrow’s articles. He argues that people should speak up on anything they feel like saying. People should enjoy full freedom of speech and no one should interfere. By saying this, he is against limitations of free speech, which might lead to moral decay in the society as said by Murrow and Tim Wu.

Biasness in the journalism sector has become a tradition (Baughman, 2011). He says that freedom of speech has made this industry to produce biased news, materials, or documents. His suggestion is that, a restriction on type of production is appropriate. Journalists should show citizens both sides of the coin, bad side and the good side. Jon Lovett goes against this, he says that restriction to freedom of speech, and expression, stops people from giving their own views on issues. His views suggest that journalist have the right to produce biased information that is far from reality, which is not the case here. This could infringe the law and citizens will be misinformed. 

Limitation to future speech is important, as increase use of internet would affect citizens (Tim Wu, 2011). Tim Wu says that innovations in communication platforms like Facebook, Google and You Tube makes citizens more vulnerable to immoral behavior since such platforms can provide unwanted documents to users without the awareness of the government. He says that regulations on such productions should be in place to enhance good morals in the society. In support of this, Edward Murrow (1958) says that Federal government should carry thorough research and inspection on production industries to overcome this challenge.

All the articles converge to the idea that freedom of speech and expression should have limits. Absence of limits to freedom of speech would lead to moral decay in the society, mistreatment, and production of biased information to citizen. Therefore, to avoid all these challenges, freedom of speech should have limitations.

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  1. Murrow, Edward R. In Search of Light: The Broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow, 1938-1961. New York: Avon Books, 1974. Print.
  2. Issues in Media: Selections from Cq Researcher. , 2015. Internet resource. The Rural New-Yorker. New York, N.Y: Rural Pub. Co, 1878. Print.
  3. Wu, Tim. The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. London: Atlantic, 2012 Print.
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