What The Law Says About Hate Speech
The First Amendment protects social groups or individuals on the basis of race, religion, belief, disability or similar. It also guarantees freedom of the press, but freedom has never been absolute.
Hate speech is only punishable when considered threatening or a cause of serious harm. As with most law, it is easy to misinterpret.
Demanded A Reduction In General Skepticism
Andy Slavit, a senior adviser on the White House COVID-19 response team asked about misinformation on WhatsApp, a messaging service owned by Facebooks parent company Meta. A Facebook executive said that WhatsApp already has forward limits and labels that reduce the viral spread of misinformation. The executive pointed to a change made in April 2020 that reduced the spread of repeatedly forwarded messages by 70%.
Unimpressed with the changes, Flaherty told Facebook that the bigger issue was general skepticism. He asked how the company was measuring the effectiveness of the changes.
Case Study: Poland And The Right To Protest
Amnesty International has documented how people in Poland have taken to the streets to express their opinions despite restrictive legislation combined with heavy-handed policing, surveillance, harassment and prosecution which threaten to strangle the right to peaceful protest.
Since 2016, tens of thousands of people have protested against repressive legislation aimed at curbing womens rights and undermining the independence of the judiciary. Protesters have routinely been met with a show of force and restrictive measures that infringe their right to be seen and heard. Hundreds have found themselves in police custody and facing lengthy court proceedings.
In parallel with tightening the laws affecting the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, the government has vastly expanded the surveillance powers of law enforcement agencies with evidence that these expanded powers have been used against people engaged in organizing and participating in peaceful protests.
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Why Does The First Amendment Apply To Social Media Pages
After all, Ben Franklin and the other authors of the U.S. Constitution didnt use Twitter
We believe and the courts agree that the Constitutions limits on government control of speech apply online as much as they do in newspapers, at marches, and in townhall meetings. In fact, the discussion at an old-fashioned townhall is similar to the discourse found on a social media page. Because it is unconstitutional for an elected representative to block critics from entering a public townhall simply because of their views, its also not allowable for that representative to create a social media page and then restrict people with critical viewpoints from posting or viewing content.
Because the format of every social media page is different, each instance of social media censorship must be evaluated based on its specific facts.
In the several prominent court cases addressing social media blocking, judges have reviewed when and why the social media page was created, the content posted on the page, and the reasons given for why an individual was blocked. This is why taking photos or screenshots of the social media page and any blocked posts or comments is important to proving a civil liberties violation.
History Of Dissent And Truth
|The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with Western culture and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate.|
Index Librorum ProhibitorumList of Prohibited Books
Before the invention of the , a written work, once created, could only be physically multiplied by highly laborious and error-prone manual copying. No elaborate system of censorship and control over scribes existed, who until the 14th century were restricted to religious institutions, and their works rarely caused wider controversy. In response to the , and the theological heresies it allowed to spread, the Roman Catholic Church moved to impose censorship. Printing allowed for multiple exact copies of a work, leading to a more rapid and widespread circulation of ideas and information . The origins of copyright law in most European countries lie in efforts by the Roman Catholic Church and governments to regulate and control the output of printers.
Panegyricae orationes septemAreopagitica
Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
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If It Is Speech Is The Government Censoring Or Punishing It
The First Amendment only protects your speech from government censorship. It applies to federal, state, and local government actors. This is a broad category that includes not only lawmakers and elected officials, but also public schools and universities, courts, and police officers. It does not include private citizens, businesses, and organizations. This means that:
- A private school can suspend students for criticizing a school policy.
- A private business can fire an employee for expressing political views on the job.
- A private media company can refuse to publish or broadcast opinions it disagrees with.
The Solution: What Is Amnesty Calling For
- Prisoners of conscience around the world should be released immediately and unconditionally.
- All laws criminalizing people who speak out or protest peacefully, should be struck off the law books.
- Laws against hate speech or other incitement to discrimination and violence must not be used to repress peaceful dissent.
- People should have access to information, and the power of governments and companies to obtain information about individuals and organisations must be restricted.
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Democracy In Relation To Social Interaction
Freedom of speech is understood to be fundamental in a democracy. The norms on limiting freedom of expression mean that public debate may not be completely suppressed even in times of emergency. One of the most notable proponents of the link between freedom of speech and democracy is Alexander Meiklejohn. He has argued that the concept of democracy is that of self-government by the people. For such a system to work, an informed electorate is necessary. In order to be appropriately knowledgeable, there must be no constraints on the free flow of information and ideas. According to Meiklejohn, democracy will not be true to its essential ideal if those in power can manipulate the electorate by withholding information and stifling criticism. Meiklejohn acknowledges that the desire to manipulate opinion can stem from the motive of seeking to benefit society. However, he argues, choosing manipulation negates, in its means, the democratic ideal.
Richard Moon has developed the argument that the value of freedom of speech and freedom of expression lies with social interactions. Moon writes that “by communicating an individual forms relationships and associations with others family, friends, co-workers, church congregation, and countrymen. By entering into discussion with others an individual participates in the development of knowledge and in the direction of the community”.
Free Speech Is A Crucial Part Of A Free And Democratic Society So When Big Tech Censorship Places Limits On Our Speech Our Society Becomes Less Democratic
There is no doubt: today, big tech has an enormous impact on our lives. From what we buy, where we go, and even what we feel, almost everything we do is conditioned by what search engines and platforms are showing us. It even affects our democracy. Because if what we can and canât say, read or watch online is limited by big tech censorship, it means we are less free.
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One: Freedom Of The Press
The First Amendment is clear that Congress cannot make any laws that limit the freedom of the press. The First Amendments primary goal for the press is to prevent the government from censoring it. Under these circumstances, censorship often means preventing the press from publishing information in the first place, though this can also mean punishing news organizations after they have published a story. Censorship of the press before a story is published in print, broadcast on television, radio or the internet is called prior restraint, and the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional in a case called Near v. Minnesota .
The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications and not in freedom from censure from criminal matter when published.
Sir William Blackstone
Citizens need a free press for many reasons, including the ability to to criticize the government or expose any of its potential wrongdoings. Left unchecked by the press, the government could potentially commit all sorts of things its citizens would disapprove of.
Friendly Relations With Foreign States
This criterion was added by the First Amendment itself in 1951. This was added so that people cannot misuse their right to freedom of speech and expression which may hinder the countrys relation with other foreign states. In India, the Foreign Relations Act, provides punishment for libel by Indian citizens against foreign dignitaries. However, the interest of friendly relations with foreign, would not justify the suppression of fair criticism of the foreign policy of the government.
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A Quick Overview Of Our Methods
Our goal in presenting subjects that generate controversy is to provide you with a sense of some of the figures both past and present who have driven debate, produced recognized works of research, literature or art, proliferated their ideas widely, or who are identified directly and publicly with some aspect of this debate. By identifying the researchers, activists, journalists, educators, academics, and other individuals connected with this debate-and by taking a closer look at their work and contributions-we can get a clear but nuanced look at the subject matter. Rather than framing the issue as one side versus the other, we bring various dimensions of the issue into discussion with one another. This will likely include dimensions of the debate that resonate with you, some dimensions that you find repulsive, and some dimensions that might simply reveal a perspective you hadnât previously considered.
For a look at how we handle the risk of spotlighting a potentially repulsive influencer, check out Influence and Infamy: The Case of Osama bin Laden.
For a closer look at how our InfluenceRankings work, check out our methodology.
Otherwise, read on for a look at influencers associated with an array of key terms.
Political Correctness And Cancel Culture
The First Amendment refers exclusively to the role of Congress where free speech is concerned. However, the present-day debate about freedom of speech is a bit more complex. Technically, the First Amendment protects a political figureâs right to express an unpopular opinion in a public forum, a celebrityâs right to say something offensive, or a journalistâs right to pen a racially insensitive blog post. Inherent to the First Amendment is the premise that the U.S. government may not create laws infringing on these rights.
However, this premise does not give the speaker immunity to the consequences of their speech. Unpopular speech may not incur government intervention, but it may provoke a response in the public space. Today, that public space includes the sprawling world of the internet, and by extension, social media. Online forums give every individual a public forum for free speech, but they also give broad cross-sections of the public an extremely powerful set of instruments for responding to unpopular speech.
The First Amendment refers exclusively to the role of Congress where free speech is concerned. However, the present-day debate about freedom of speech is a bit more complex.â â @AcademicInfluxPOST
The internet plays host to a perpetual tug of war between these two interests, and conflicts often produce real-world consequences:
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Freedom Of Speech Includes The Right:
- Not to speak .West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 .
- Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war .Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 .
- To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 .
- To contribute money to political campaigns.Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 .
- To advertise commercial products and professional services .Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 .
- To engage in symbolic speech, .Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 .
Limitations On Free Speech
While the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making laws to stifle free speech, court precedent has upheld the placement of certain limitations on modes of free speech. These exceptions to the First Amendment underscore the interpretative nature of this fundamental right, as well as the impetus to use limitations and modes of censorship for the declared purpose of protecting public safety. Wikipedia notes that âNumerous holdings of Court attest to the fact that the First Amendment does not literally mean that we âare guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship.ââ
The most consequential legal challenges surrounding freedom of speech do not question the basic premise of this freedom, but have instead centered on disputes around what should or should not be considered restricted speech.
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Libel And Slander When It Comes To Public Officials
Determining when defamatory words may be censored has proved to be difficult for the Court, which has allowed greater freedom in remarks made about public figures than those concerning private individuals.
In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan , the Court held that words can be libelous or slanderous in the case of public officials only if they involve actual malice or publication with knowledge of falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth. Lampooning has generally been protected by the Court.
In Hustler Magazine v. Falwell , for example, the Court held that the magazine had not slandered Rev. Jerry Falwell by publishing an outrageous advertisement containing a caricature of him because it was presented as parody rather than truth.
On the issue of press freedoms, the Court has been reluctant to censor publication of even previously classified materials, as in New York Times v. United States the Pentagon Papers case unless the government can provide an overwhelming reason for such prior restraint.
The Court has accepted some censorship of the press when it interferes with the right to a fair trial, as exhibited in Estes v. Texas and Sheppard v. Maxwell , but the Court has been reluctant to uphold gag orders, as in the case of Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart .
Studies Show That Deplatforming Works
We know deplatforming works to combat online extremism because researchers have studied what happens when extremist communities get routed from their homes on the internet.
Radical extremists across the political spectrum use social media to spread their messaging, so deplatforming those extremists makes it harder for them to recruit. Deplatfoming also decreases their influence a 2016 study of ISIS deplatforming found, for example, that ISIS influencers lost followers and clout as they were forced to bounce around from platform to platform. And when was the last time you heard the name Milo Yiannopoulos? After the infamous right-wing instigator was and his other social media homes in 2016, his influence and notoriety plummeted. Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones met a similar fate when he and his media network Infowars were deplatformed across social media in 2018.
The more obscure and hard to access an extremists social media hub is, the less likely mainstream internet users are to stumble across the group and be drawn into its rhetoric. Thats because major platforms like Facebook and Twitter generally act as gateways for casual users from there, they move into the smaller, more niche platforms where extremists might congregate. If extremists are banned from those major platforms, the vast majority of would-be recruits wont find their way to those smaller niche platforms.
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Censorship Not A Violation Of Freedom Of Speech
The government of the United States made some amendments to the constitution to ensure that individuals and members of the press the freedom of speech . However, the information that is available to the public plays a major role in matters such as the defense of the country, the moralities of young children, and others . The information and ideas that are presented to the public will only be considered positive if it has positive effects to that public or the interests of the state. Otherwise, if the information has negative effects, it can be censored so that the public experiences positive development. Censoring such information cannot be seen as a violation of freedom of speech in that its effects are more harmful than useful. Katie argues that it is at times quite difficult for everybody in a region to agree on the values of an idea. In the United States, censorship is opposed by forty percent while some of the rest support it and others are not interested in the debate. The government, therefore, can decide on the information that is harmful to the public and suppress its release or publication for the safety of the state and its interests. In general, individuals are free to express themselves but not to incite against the state or to promote immorality.