Freedom of speech refers to the expression by an individual or people without any fear of being punished or forced. It is when people are able to pass information without going against the setup rules of the country. Limits of free speech, on the other hand, mean the people being limited from accessing some information which might be harmful, abusive or obscene like pornography. A country has all the right to limit freedom to speech when it realizes that its people are accessing information which is against the setup rules of the place.
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Free speech has its advantages to the society and the include enabling an individual to express personal thoughts on a particular issue without being threatened. An example was in 2017 when in US and Europe, most people largely protested against the electoral win of Donald Trump as their president (Travis & Scott, 2017). This was aired through the international media. It also helps in advocating for people’s rights in the society. When the society feels that some people’s rights are being violated, they have a right to making their expression known. The latest example is the demonstration by the Americans protesting against the immigration law that was put in place by the current US president. This law is seen as discriminating against immigrants from the rest of the world (CNN).
However, there are also disadvantages of free speech due to the uncontrolled content which can be harmful to other people. It especially applies to the social media where people pass wrong information or abusive messages. In that regard, it has negatively affected concerned parties leading to others committing suicide (Mitchell, 2016). The internet should be strictly controlled and some offensive posts which cause harm should not be put on the media. Some teenagers in the US have ended up committing suicide because of negativity by social media. These cases mostly occur on Facebook. Free speech leads to passage of wrong content resulting to the promotion of bad vices in the society. This is in relation to pornographic shows and some media airing shows not suitable for children. For example in the US children are protected from pornography or indecent speech by imposing sanctions on those producing the content.
The solutions are short-term keeping in mind that people can access the same information through the internet. It a known fact that citizens like advocating for their rights and when the rights are infringed they feel left out (Mitchell, 2016). Freedom of speech has led to people misusing their freedom rights thus leading to a society that lacks respect to those in authority. People should be given freedom but should be minimal. An example in the US is during the last regime of Barrack Obama as the president, a citizen threw a shoe to the president showing dissatisfaction against the regime.
A decent society is one that honors freedom concretely, however, the harm that results from the free speech might be so significant and can be uncontainable. In the United States, mockery of the president is common and does not have an immense genitive impact, however, bomb scares and death threats are enough reason whyfreedom of speech is curtailed in the United States. The wellbeing of the citizens should be put first even if it means, limiting the freedom of speech to achieve such an objective.
Facts are important when it comes to speech. In numerous cases, individuals and the media have been castigated and taken to court because of reporting unclaimed information. In such an incidence where an entity of an individual brings into light information that damages a reputation of an individual, one can be used for defamation (Cohen 12). In this regards, before one gives out information on private matters concerning private citizens there should be adequate and undisputed proof of an actual malice.
The United States society is a moral society. For this reason, it is not a surprise that the first amended which allows freedom of speech does not protect obscenity. As much as it is difficult to define what obscenity is, it is conclusive to assert that it is an expression that is designed to satisfy sexual appeal and satisfaction which is devoid of on political, scientific or artistic value. It should be noted that as per the contemporary United States local communities, adults’ access to obscene information materials is not taken as a serious offense. However, with this in mind, child pornography is not on the table for discussion as it is outlawed in the United States.
In conclusion, there are more advantages of freedom of speech than disadvantages. For that reason, limitation on free speech has helped in shaping up the society through close monitoring of the content. The freedom of speech should include all people within a country’s setting without bias. I advocate for a limit on free speech for a better society. It’s imperative for a society to assess the imperativeness of the policies regarding limits to freedom of speech. A good point to note is that other people’s speech begins where yours ends.
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- Cohen, Henry. Freedom Of Speech And Press: Exceptions To The First Amendment. DIANE Publishing, 2010. Print.
- Travis, J. E., & Scott, J. A. (2017). Free Speech and Slurs: Rights vs. Respect. College Student Journal, 51(2), 291-297.
- Mitchell, D. (2016). The liberalization of free speech: Or, how protest in public space is silenced. Spaces of Contention: Spatialities and Social Movements, 47.