Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech

It is practically impossible to write about the freedom of speech without going on for several pages. We will not go deeply into what freedom of speech is and how it is guaranteed, however we will cover the basics. The freedom of speech allows us to express our thoughts and opinions without anyone having authority to stop us from doing so. Basically, on paper, you could be standing anywhere and talking loudly about politics, the weather or any other thoughts you might have. Nobody should ever stop you, and if the police asks you to leave the area it is only because you are disturbing the public.

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Freedom of speech is not infinite

Now, this is where the dilemma of the freedom of speech comes in. How can you draw a line between expression of thoughts and disturbance? Where does a peaceful demonstration become a threat to the “normal” society? Drawing the line between free speech and hate speech is notoriously tricky and states handle it differently. In some countries, such as Germany, it’s a crime to deny the Holocaust. Many Scandinavian countries ban so called hate speech (inflammatory speech against minorities). In the USA, free speech is sacred and so the only regulation of it is for speech that constitutes a direct incitement to violence. How we choose to define the freedom of speech is part of an ongoing discussion in every democratic society.

A mean to a better ending

Freedom of speech is, without a doubt, a human right that should be taken seriously. As long as no violence occurs, people are allowed to gathered peacefully and express their views – both solo and in large groups. Even so, many governments have tried to restrict this basic human right. Peaceful demonstrations are being violently quashed with water cannons in Germany, and yet nobody asks where freedom of speech disappeared. Armed demonstrators kill police officers and take over government buildings in other countries, and we applaud the thugs by claiming that they are using their freedom of speech. Freedom of speech can only work if we all work together, strive towards a better future. Let us throw away the double standards and treat every human equally. Only then will we see our world change to the better.