In the century of democracy, globalization and multiculturalism, people have much wider opportunities that it was a hundred years ago. Freedom, as a right and as a value, has drastically changed the view of society, its pains and needs. As almost a constitution of any country states, “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”, as well as regulative laws provide protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech and thoughts. For example, the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law. . . abridging the freedom of speech. . .” (Hunsaker 25-35).
Freedom is the most fundamental duty of every person in the world. Freedom of views and speech is the most important type of interaction as without sharing there would be no history and science at all. Liberty of words shows the power especially in politics or government. Most importantly, everyone has right to think and act without causing harm or authority of any other individual.
The freedom of speech can be defined as the right of a person to express thoughts, ideas, and personal opinions through a desired media without any restrictions, just so long that these actions do not infringe on the rights of another person or national security. Free expression has been entrenched in our hearts as an unwritten law since time immemorial, even before formal recognition by any authority (Ringen 36-39).
However, free expression has also a negative effect on society. Of course the freedom of expression, like every freedom, is linked with responsibility: whoever infringes on the human rights of others with his or her freedom of expression must be held accountable. For example, in 2005 a Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten published a group of cartoons containing satirical images of the Prophet Mahommed. As Islamic communities around the world immediately found out about the issue with the cartoons and it caused many passionate expressions of distress and anger, largely on two grounds: because Muslim belief does not accept pictorial representations of the Prophet and because the fact that the publication associated Muslims with terrorism. Later on, in 2015, a French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo has been the target for terrorist attack due to the numerous satirical and atheistic controversial Muhammad cartoon publications. As the result, 12 people died and many were injured (Sturges 181-188).
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Ability to think and act accordingly defines humans between other live creatures on the Earth. Nowadays, the level of democracy and wide freedom of speech over the world provides endless opportunities for people to share the knowledge, thoughts and ideas. In fact, mass media is the best instrument for the society to exercise its right to freedom of expression. The idea of a free, independent, plural, and diversified media has become the ideal to be achieved in order to fully ensure the right to seek, receive and impart information.
However, mass media without any regulation can significantly hurt the society. Therefore, media regulation started its development in order to guarantee, promote and protect the right of free expression. In fact, the main mission for regulating mass media and internet should be to protect and deepen the freedom of speech.
However, the freedom of expression can conflict with other basic and human rights. For example, under certain circumstances, the insult or disparagement of a person constitutes a prohibited violation of human dignity. That is why it is important to regulate defamation. Defamation is the publishing of a statement regarding a person’s reputation to the effect that the statement lowers the person in the estimation of right thinking members of the society. The essence of defamation law is actually to control expressions which injure people’s reputation without any justification (Hunsaker 25-35).
To sum up, freedom of speech has many exceptions and is not defined just as it is stated. We have yet to find the perfect medium between freedom and regulation of speech that would be suitable for everyone.
Hunsaker, David M. “Freedom And Responsibility In First Amendment Theory: Defamation Law And Media Credibility”. Quarterly Journal of Speech 65.1 (1979): 25-35. Web.
Ringen, Stein. “Liberty, Freedom And Real Freedom”. Soc 42.3 (2005): 36-39. Web.
Sturges, P. “Limits To Freedom Of Expression? Considerations Arising From The Danish Cartoons Affair”. IFLA Journal 32.3 (2006): 181-188. Web.
Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental rights of the citizens of India. Many countries around the world allow freedom of speech to its citizens to empower them to share their thoughts and views.
The government of India and many other countries provide freedom of speech to their citizens. This is especially so in the countries with democratic government. Here are essays of varying lengths on the topic Freedom of Speech to help you with the same in your exam. You can select any Freedom of Speech essay as per your need:
Long and Short Essay on Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Speech Essay 1 (200 words)
Freedom of Speech is one of the fundamental rights provided to the citizens of India. It allows the citizens of our country to express their ideas and share their opinions freely. It allows the general public as well as the media to comment on any of the political activities and even show discontentment against the ones they find inappropriate.
Just like India many other countries also provide the Freedom of Speech and Expression to its citizens but with some limitations. The restrictions put on the Freedom of Speech vary from country to country. There are also many countries that do not allow this basic human right. The general public and the media in such countries are refrained from commenting on the activities carried out by the government. Criticism of government, political parties or ministers is a punishable offense in such countries.
While Freedom of Speech is essential for the overall growth of the society it may have certain negative repercussions too. People must not use it to disrespect or instigate others. The media must also act responsibly and not misuse the Freedom of Speech.
I am lucky to have born in India – a country that respects its citizens and provides them with all the rights that are needed for their growth and development.
Freedom of Speech Essay 2 (300 words)
Freedom of speech is one of the basic rights given to the citizens of most of the countries across the globe. It enables the people residing in those countries to speak their mind without the fear of being punished by the law.
Origin of Freedom of Speech
The concept of freedom of speech originated long back. England’s Bill of Rights 1689 adopted freedom of speech as a constitutional right and it is still in effect. The French revolution in 1789 adopted the Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen. This further affirmed the Freedom of Speech as an undeniable right. The Declaration of Freedom of Speech and Expression in Article 11 states:
“The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law”.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted in the year 1948 also states that everyone should have the freedom to express their ideas and opinions. Freedom of Speech and Expression has now formed a part of the international and regional human rights law.
Freedom of Speech – The Basis of Democracy
A democratic government gives various rights to its people including the right to elect the government of their country. Freedom of speech and expression is known to form the basis of a democratic nation. Merely electing the government is no use if the citizens do not have the right to voice their opinion in case they feel that the elected government is not performing as per the standards set by it initially. This is why right to freedom of speech is an essential right in the democratic nations. It forms the basis of democracy.
Freedom of speech empowers the people to share their ideas and bring about positive changes in the society.
Freedom of Speech Essay 3 (400 words)
Freedom of Speech is considered to be a basic right that every person must be entitled to. It is among the seven fundamental rights given to the citizens of India by the Indian constitution. It forms a part of the Right to Freedom that includes the freedom of speech and expression, right to life and liberty, freedom of movement, freedom of residence, right to practice any profession, freedom to form unions, associations or cooperatives, protection in regard to conviction in offences and protection against arrest in some cases.
Why is Freedom of Speech Essential?
Freedom of speech is essential for the all round growth and development of a person as well as a nation as a whole. Imposing restriction on what one speaks or hears can hamper the development of a person. It can even create discomfort and dissatisfaction that leads to stress. A nation filled with people full of discontent can never grow in the right direction.
Freedom of Speech gives way to open discussions that helps in exchange of ideas which is essential for the growth of the society. It is also essential to express one’s opinion about the political system of the country. When the government knows that it is being monitored and can be challenged or criticized for the steps it is taking, it acts more responsibly.
Freedom of Speech – Closely Related to Other Rights
Freedom of Speech is closely related to the other rights. It is mainly required to protect the other rights given to the citizens. It is only when people have the right to express and speak freely they can raise their voice against anything that goes wrong. It enables them to take an active part in democracy rather than just being involved in the election process. Similarly, they can guard other rights such as the Right to Equality, Right to Freedom of Religion, Right against Exploitation and Right to Privacy only when they have the Freedom to Speech and Expression.
It is also closely related to the Right to Fair Trial. Freedom of Speech and Expression enables a person to put across his point freely during a trial which is extremely essential.
Freedom of speech gives the power to raise voice against any kind of injustice happening around. The governments of the countries that offer Right to Information and Opinion and Freedom of Speech and Expression must also welcome the opinions and ideas of their citizens and be receptive to change.
Freedom of Speech Essay 4 (500 words)
Freedom of Speech and Expression is one of the basic rights guaranteed to the citizens of India. It comes under the Right to Freedom which is among the seven fundamental rights included in the Indian constitution. The other rights include Right to Equality, Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights, Right to Privacy, Right against Exploitation and Right to Constitutional Remedies.
Freedom of Speech in India
The constitution of India provides Freedom of Speech to every citizen however with some restrictions. This means that the people can freely express their views about others as well as the government, political system, policies and bureaucracy. However, speech can be restricted on moral grounds, security and provocation. Under the Right to Freedom in the Indian constitution, the citizens of the country have the following rights:
- Freedom to speak and express ideas and opinions freely
- Freedom to assemble peacefully without any arms and ammunitions
- Freedom to form groups, unions and associations
- Freedom to move freely in any part of the country
- Freedom to settle in any part of the country
- Freedom to practice any profession
- Freedom to indulge in any kind of business or trade provided it is not unlawful.
India is known as a democratic country in true sense. The people here have the right to information and can give their opinion on anything even the activities of the government. Freedom of Speech empowers the media to share all that is going on in the country as well as around the world. This makes the people more aware and keeps them updated with the latest happenings from around the world.
Downside of Freedom of Speech
While the Freedom of Speech allows an individual to share his thoughts and ideas and contribute towards the betterment of his society and fellow citizens, there are many disadvantages attached to it too. Many people misuse this freedom. They do not just express their views but also impose them on others. They instigate people and form groups to conduct unlawful activities. Media is also free to express its ideas and opinions. At times, the information shared by them creates panic amongst the general public. Certain news such as that related to the activities of different communal groups has even given rise to communal riots in the past. This disrupts the peace and harmony of the society.
Internet has augmented the Freedom of Speech and Expression. The advent of social media platforms has furthered it all the more. People these days are eager to give their views on anything and everything whether they have knowledge about the same or not. They write hateful comments without caring if they are hurting someone’s feelings or intruding in someone’s personal space. This can certainly be termed as the misuse of this freedom and must be stopped.
Every country must provide the Freedom of Speech and Expression to its citizens. However, it must be defined clearly so that it only helps in bringing about positive changes in the individuals as well as the society and does not disrupt its normal functioning.
Freedom of Speech Essay 5 (600 words)
Freedom of Speech is given to citizens of most countries to enable them to share their ideas and provide their opinion on different matters. It is considered to be essential for the growth of an individual as well as the society. While most countries provide this freedom to its citizens, many refrain from it.
Many Countries Offer Freedom of Speech
Not only India many countries around the world offer Freedom of Speech and Expression to their citizens. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights incorporated in the year 1948 states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.
South Africa, Sudan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Hong Kong, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, New Zealand, Europe, Denmark, Finland and Republic of China are among some of the countries that offer Freedom of Speech and Expression to their citizens.
Now, while these countries have given the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression to their citizens however the degree to which this right is rendered to the general public and media differs from country to country.
Countries that Do Not Have Freedom of Speech
There are countries that do not give the right to Freedom of Speech to their citizens to maintain absolute control. Here is a look at some of these countries:
- North Korea: The country does not provide Freedom of Speech and Expression to its citizens as well as the media. Thus, the government does not only hold the freedom to express ones ideas and opinions but also holds information from its citizens.
- Syria: The government of Syria is known for its tyranny. People here are deprived of their basic human right that is the right to Freedom of Speech and Expression.
- Cuba: Yet another country that doesn’t provide Freedom of Speech to its citizens. The citizens of Cuba are not allowed to pass any negative comment on the activities of the government or any political party. The government here has even put restriction on internet usage so that people do not get a chance to express anything via the same.
- Belarus: This is another country that does not offer Freedom of Speech and Expression. People cannot voice their opinions or criticize the work of the government. Criticism of the government or any political minister is a criminal offense here.
- Iran: The citizens of Iran are not aware what it is like to express their opinion and share their ideas freely in the public. Nobody can express any kind of discontentment against the public laws or Islamic standards.
- Burma: The government of Burma is of the opinion that the Freedom of Speech and Expression is unnecessary. The citizens are asked not to express their ideas or opinions particularly if they are against any leader or political party. The media in this country is run by the government.
- Libya: Most people in this country do not even know as to what Freedom of Speech and Expression really is. The government of Libya is known for oppressing its citizens. In the age of internet, people around the world are free to express their views on any matter but not in this country. Many people in the country have been arrested for criticizing the government on the internet.
Freedom of Speech and Expression is a basic human right that must be given to the citizens of each country. It is sad to see the way the governments of certain countries do not provide even this essential human right to its citizens and oppresses them to fulfil their own selfish motives.