Monday, November 27, 2023

The Importance Of Freedom Of Speech

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Time Place And Manner

Why is freedom of speech important?

Limitations based on time, place, and manner apply to all speech, regardless of the view expressed. They are generally restrictions that are intended to balance other rights or a legitimate government interest. For example, a time, place, and manner restriction might prohibit a noisy political demonstration at a politician’s home during the middle of the night, as that impinges upon the rights of the politician’s neighbors to quiet enjoyment of their own homes. An otherwise identical activity might be permitted if it happened at a different time , at a different place , or in a different manner .

What Does Protected Speech Include

First Amendment protection is not limited to “pure speech” — books, newspapers, leaflets, and rallies. It also protects “symbolic speech” — nonverbal expression whose purpose is to communicate ideas. In its 1969 decision in Tinker v. Des Moines, the Court recognized the right of public school students to wear black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. In 1989 and again in 1990 , the Court struck down government bans on “flag desecration.” Other examples of protected symbolic speech include works of art, T-shirt slogans, political buttons, music lyrics and theatrical performances.

Government can limit some protected speech by imposing “time, place and manner” restrictions. This is most commonly done by requiring permits for meetings, rallies and demonstrations. But a permit cannot be unreasonably withheld, nor can it be denied based on content of the speech. That would be what is called viewpoint discrimination — and that is unconstitutional.

When a protest crosses the line from speech to action, the government can intervene more aggressively. Political protesters have the right to picket, to distribute literature, to chant and to engage passersby in debate. But they do not have the right to block building entrances or to physically harass people.

Protection Of Correcting The Record

Similar to the dismantling of bad ideas free speech also allows us to correct wrong previous information.

When a political candidate says something you disagree with, you can research, discover it was wrong, and argue against them over it. You dont have to believe what they say. The actual data is available for review.

This also applies to any and many communications. If someone, even an authority figure, says something incorrect, you can retaliate with a wealth of knowledge.

This ability to retaliate comes from the protection of free speech. The wealth of knowledge comes from the open discourse allowed from freedom of speech.

Every single element involved in open and honest discussion revolves around free speech.

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Is Free Speech A Human Right

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created in 1948 by representatives of 50 states from the United Nations. They were created in response to the Second World War, as a way of trying to prevent such a wide-scale conflict from ever happening again.

Thirty human rights were created, and they were designed to belong to everyone in the world so that no human being would be without rights. Article 18 and 19 are the rights most closely related to freedom of speech. While article 18 states that everyone has the freedom to believe whatever they want, and practice their beliefs , article 19 states that everyone has the right to express their opinions freely, in whichever way they want.

These human rights then formed the basis for different human rights laws across the world, including article 10 of the human rights act in the UK. This article grants individuals freedom of expression without interference, but also states that there are some conditions that may mean this freedom will be interrogated, such as in the event of a national security risk.

What About Private Restrictions On Speech


The First Amendment constrains the federal government from infringing on most speech, and the Fourteenth Amendment extended these constraints to state and local governments. But the First Amendments protections dont apply to the personal and private interactions of people or businesses. If people disagree with you, they are free to stop listening. And companies are generally free to stop doing business with people with whom they disagree. Nor is anyone obligated to provide a forum for anyone elses speech. Richard Epstein explains:

Freedom of speech means that you have the right to use your own resources to advance your own causes. But it doesnt give you, in the name of free speech, the right to take somebodys telephone, somebodys house, or somebodys anything in order to use it for your own purposes.

But while private actors are not bound by the First Amendment, many private institutions have thrived because they have embraced a culture of free speech. For example, private universities have historically maintained broad academic freedoms for its faculty and students that allow for robust dissent on campuses. Recently, however, some universities have adopted policies that take a narrower view of what is acceptable speech. Heres Peter Berkowitz:

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The Importance Of Freedom Of Speech As A Basic Human Right

In a world where the rich get richer, and the ones with power perpetually keep growing in power, it becomes of paramount importance to nurture a society where the right to speak unbarred and express ones views and opinions without fear is not only a basic human right, but is ingrained into the very fabric of its culture. Freedom of speech & expression not only help honor the principles of equality and sovereignty in society, but help maintain dignity of the individual at a personal level as well.

A quick look at history as well as modern society testifies to the importance of freedom of speech in many ways. As history stands witness, the absence of freedom of speech often culminates in the abuse of power, eventually leading to mass destruction and violation of human rights, such as the oppression of masses in the name of race, creed, sex or religion. However, in the end it is the assertion of rekindled forms of speech and expression that have enabled revolutions in history leading to the abolition of atrocities such as slavery and the attainment of independence in many countries dominated by colonial rule for centuries.

In conclusion, in a increasingly opinionated world eager to express and be heard, it is as important to listen as it is to speak to be compassionate and responsible. However, under no circumstance should freedom of speech be curbed, since that would only dismantle the very fragments of individualism and morality from society.

The Ongoing Challenge To Define Free Speech

Freedom of speech, Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo declared more than 80 years ago, is the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom. Countless other justices, commentators, philosophers, and more have waxed eloquent for decades over the critically important role that freedom of speech plays in promoting and maintaining democracy.

Yet 227 years after the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were ratified in 1791 as the Bill of Rights, debate continues about the meaning of freedom of speech and its First Amendment companion, freedom of the press.

This issue of Human Rights explores contemporary issues, controversies, and court rulings about freedom of speech and press. This is not meant to be a comprehensive survey of First Amendment developments, but rather a smorgasbord of interesting issues.

The controversy over what many call hate speech is not new, but it is renewed as our nation experiences the Black Lives Matter movement and the Me Too movement. These movements have raised consciousness and promoted national dialogue about racism, sexual harassment, and more. With the raised awareness come increased calls for laws punishing speech that is racially harmful or that is offensive based on gender or gender identity.

The views expressed here are the author’s and do not reflect those of the ABA Board of Governors.

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It Makes Everyone More Accountable

When it comes to elections, citizens are given the opportunity to hold their politicians accountable. In order to decide who to vote for, they need to understand how well a political party has performed while in power and whether or not they fulfilled their election promises.

By reporting on societys most pressing social issues, media outlets and civil society organisations contribute to the publics perception of how well the government is doing. However, this is only helpful if they are free to truthfully cover stories that are critical of the state.

Does Freedom Of Speech Apply To Digital Platforms

The Importance of Freedom of Speech (Mirror)

A lot of the time, we hear about controversial opinions and statements that people have made via the internet. This is why its important to evaluate the role of digital platforms and social media in the debate on freedom of speech.

In our open step on freedom of speech and the internet, experts from the University of Bristol discuss how the internet has been blamed by some for enabling terrorism and extremism. This is because they are accused of providing a platform for people to promote their damaging views, and even plan attacks.

In this way, digital platforms very much have a part to play in the free speech debate, as ultimately they must try to ensure that dangerous activity is not taking place on their platforms. However, as Pier Luigi Parcu explains in our open step on fake news, digital platforms dont like to assume editorial responsibility for the dangerous content that exists on their sites.

There are rare exceptions to this, such as when Twitter banned Donald Trump recently, but a bill was approved soon after that now prevents social media companies from deplatforming politicians this way.

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Freedom Of Expression & Democracy

Freedom of expression is an important human right which is essential for a society to be democratic. It enables the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information and thus allows members of society to form their own opinions on issues of public importance. Freedom of expression serves public debate and supports a free and independent press, informed citizenship and the transparent functioning of the state.

Free Speech Encourages The Search For Truth

When a person speaks freely they can express their views or opinions on any issue. In this way, this brings up other ideas and thoughts which leads people to look further into many issues.

Whether it be social, political, or any other.

This study makes them learn about others perspectives of an issue that they did not know before which broadens their mind.

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Why Does Australia Not Have Freedom Of Speech

While Australia does not have explicit freedom of speech, it does have an implied freedom of political speech.Rather they preclude the curtailment of the protected freedom by the exercise of legislative or executive power. Therefore, the implied freedom of political speech cannot be used as a defence to defamation.

The Supreme Court And The First Amendment

Five most important judgments by the Supreme Court of India on Freedom ...

During our nation’s early era, the courts were almost universally hostile to political minorities’ First Amendment rights free speech issues did not even reach the Supreme Court until 1919 when, in Schenck v. U.S., the Court unanimously upheld the conviction of a Socialist Party member for mailing anti-anti-war leaflets to draft-age men. A turning point occurred a few months later in Abrams v. U.S. Although the defendant’s conviction under the Espionage Act for distributing anti-war leaflets was upheld, two dissenting opinions formed the cornerstone of our modern First Amendment law. Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis D. Brandeis argued speech could only be punished if it presented “a clear and present danger” of imminent harm. Mere political advocacy, they said, was protected by the First Amendment. Eventually, these justices were able to convince a majority of the Court to adopt the “clear and present danger test.”

Finally, in 1969, in Brandenberg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court struck down the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan member, and established a new standard: Speech can be suppressed only if it is intended, and likely to produce, “imminent lawless action.” Otherwise, even speech that advocates violence is protected. The Brandenberg standard prevails today.

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Free Speech Enables New Ideas And Thoughts

Free speech provides new ideas to emerge for any given individual or group of people because it allows one to have an open mind towards new issues being brought up by others without being shut down or mocked by society. In other terms, which will cause someone not to speak their minds freely.

For example, public school teachers may feel critical of the system they work in but if free speech was allowed in schools, they might be more open to discussing how certain areas could be changed and improve the working environment for themselves and students.

Case Study: Surge In Vietnamese Prisoners Of Conscience

In 2019, Amnesty released shocking research showing that the number of prisoners of conscience unjustly jailed across Viet Nam had sharply risen by a third in signs of a growing crackdown on peaceful activism by lawyers, bloggers, human rights defenders, environmental activists and pro-democracy campaigners.

The prisoners detention conditions remain appalling with evidence of people being tortured and otherwise ill-treated, routinely held incommunicado and in solitary confinement, kept in squalid conditions and denied medical care, clean water and fresh air.

Many prisoners of conscience were jailed for comments made on social media platforms and were targeted using the vague and overly broad provisions of the penal code.

One prisoner of conscience is Tran Hoang Phuc. A pro-democracy and environmental activist, he was arrested in June 2017. Tried and convicted on charges of conducting propaganda against the state for making and sharing videos perceived to be critical of the government on social media, he was sentenced to six years in prison, followed by four years under house arrest.

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Freedom Of The Us Press In The Globalizing Era

Freedom of speech and the press has been the international buzzword since the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s. The positive concept of press freedom has crystallized the undisputed paradigm throughout the world, and it inspires the standard for quality journalism. The growing impact of the modified libertarian press theory with an emphasis on the state’s affirmative role in press freedom on Asia, former eastern Europe, and Latin Africa is credited partly to the American experiment of 200-plus years with a free press. At the end of his highly acclaimed book of 2010, Uninhibited Robust and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century, meanwhile, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, a leading First Amendment scholar, noted:

This book has looked at the problem of what must be done for a global free press from a U.S. perspective. But we need to do this from the vantage point of other countries as well, especially those that generally share the same philosophy about the importance of a free and independent press. A collective effort toward the same end is a necessity.

Suzanna Layton, in, 2003

Upsc Questions Related To Freedom Of Speech

Mark Zuckerberg gives “unfiltered take” on freedom of speech

Is freedom of speech a fundamental right in India?

Yes, freedom of speech is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19.

What is Article 19 of the Constitution of India?

Article 19 of the Constitution guaranteed the right to freedom. Read more here.

What are the 7 fundamental rights of India?

The 7 fundamental rights are:

  • Right to equality
  • Right to freedom of religion
  • Cultural and educational rights
  • On what grounds can the State limit Freedom of Speech?

    The state can limit Freedom of Speech on the following grounds

  • Friendly Relations with Foreign Countries
  • National Security
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    What The Freedom Of Speech Is Not

    Some might argue that the freedom of speech is just a piece of rhetoric used by those who want to say hateful things. But this is false.

    Free speech is a right that every individual possesses as a human being created by God.

    And this right isnt just for those with certain beliefs. In fact, thats the whole point. There are as many unique perspectives as there are people. Our ability to share our perspective with others is what free speech is all about.

    As the Declaration of Independence says, all men are created equal. But this doesnt mean that all ideas are equal. There will always be bad or even false ideas that we must address.

    But the answer isnt to shut down debate or silence the people sharing those ideas. The answer is more speech.

    We can use our own speech to answer hateful statements with good and truthful ones. We can debate ideas we consider bad with those we believe are good.

    No matter what, we need those with whom we disagree to be involved in the conversation.

    Debate with our ideological opponents sharpens our ideas and may even allow us to see the truth in a new and unexpected way. Not only that, but our opponents right to free speech should be protected because they are human beings with dignity just like us. And if their right is taken away, then ours can easily be taken away too.

    It has been said that I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    The Dangers Of Censorship

    In our open step about censorship from the University of York, experts suggest that internet censorship is a direct threat to our freedom to access information and express ourselves. They state that the key issue is that there is no clear code of conduct on many digital platforms, meaning we rarely even know what they are restricting and blocking, or why.

    Take the case of model, Nyome Nicholas-Williams, on Instagram last year. A partially nude, non-explicit image of her that didnt break any Instagram guidelines was repeatedly taken down. However, it is extremely easy to stumble across explicit nude images on Instagram, so we have to ask why was Nyome censored?

    The problem is, that platforms like Instagram operate on a case-by-case basis when it comes to nudity, leaving a lot of room for bias, discrimination, and unfair censorship.

    On a different note entirely, we all know that censorship of information by the government can be extremely dangerous and damaging. Extreme censorship is often a feature of dictatorship citizens are not given access to news, books, certain information, and instead are fed propaganda. This is a direct violation of their human rights.

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