“By limiting or denying freedom of speech and expression, we take away a lot of potential. We take away thoughts and ideas before they even have the opportunity to hatch” – Jill McCorkle
Our freedom of speech is a freedom that was long fought and struggled for. It is a freedom that must be cherished and protected until our last breath. Our freedom of speech was granted to us as a right and is supposed to be enjoyed by people. This is despite their class, stature, wealth or level of influence within a community. That is why it is called freedom in the first place.
Then why is the very purpose & existence of this freedom of speech being questioned today? Do we actually believe that freedom with restrictions is freedom at all?
Let’s be realistic, freedom of speech is a basic human right as per the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ and a fundamental right according to the constitutions of a lot of nations; putting restrictions on it destroys the very purpose of this right.
We need to understand that in a world like ours, freedom of speech isn’t just another usual right- it holds great importance. It promotes diversity in opinions, it helps us in keeping the govt. under check and forms the very foundation for democratic ideals. Moreover, it prevents rise of authoritarian forms of govt. and protects the minority from oppression. Numerous studies also suggest that nations where citizens are encouraged to express views more freely, are comparatively more developed than those which don’t.
People are being stripped off their right to free speech in China and the common masses have no right to voice opinions through any medium for that matter, even social media. The same is happening in North Korea too where the govt. has put many restrictions on literature, books, paintings, films, radio and even criticism through speech. The result? Ordinary masses are getting oppressed in every way, there is no flow of new thoughts, and grievances are left unheard.
Is this the kind of atmosphere we young people wish grow in ? Of course not! We genuinely need to gain complete freedom of speech and not freedom from speech that we disapprove of.
Our generation is still young and the need of hour is a magnificent upsurge of new thoughts & ideas from all directions. We, the world’s youth, demand change and this would never be possible without complete right to expression. Absolute freedom of speech, as I see it, is the only way we can truly advance on the path towards progress.
Only when different ideas and grievances can be more openly expressed , without restrictions, would we truly be able to gain freedom of speech and not freedom from speech that we disapprove of. Moreover, when tolerance and respect for diverse ideologies comes from within, freedom of speech would never have to be restricted.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” George Orwell