The freedom of speech is among the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the global human rights. This basically means that every individual has the right to speak and express themselves regardless of their race, gender, age or sexual orientation. Ideally, this means that you are free to say whatever you want as long as you are expressing yourself within the legal bind and what you say does not in any way infringe on the rights of others. Therefore, as long as you are not harming anyone, you are free to speak even if no one wants to listen to you.
Freedom of Speech in Our Past
The freedom of speech is a fundamental right. However, over time as democracies grew and societies developed, the right to criticize the authority of the day was almost non-existent. Citizens could say all they want as long as they were praising those in power and would not say anything that seemed to oppose the will of those in power or portray them in a bad light.
The Liberation of People through Freedom of Speech
As time passed, citizens became more liberated and sought to participate more in political processes and part of this came in the form of speaking up especially when they were disgruntled and unsatisfied by what the political class was offering or doing. Gradually, the naysayers and the critics got a voice and pushed for reforms through voicing their opinions. It was clear that criticism could prove helpful and so in the 1960s, there was a Free Speech Movement which made courts to start making rulings that supported free speech.
How Free Speech Helped Better the World
This is in view of the fact that with free speech, the truth comes out more often as people are free to express without prosecution even if it goes against the will of those in power. It helps to safeguard ourselves against the abuse of power, by allowing the people to speak up and to report the media freely. It also provides an environment where people are free to air out their ideas whether right or wrong and this has led to a progressive society.
Today, with this right enshrined in the constitution, it is possible to speak out against the government of the day freely, even if they do not want to hear any of it. You can now speak out and express yourself as long as in doing so, you do not infringe the rights of others.
Freedom of Speech means the Freedom to Express Oneself
Due to the fact that both freedom of speech and expressing oneself is seen as an important right, it is now possible to protest and show dissatisfaction using silence. There are several instances when silence was used as a form of protest. Ironically, the freedom of speech includes the freedom to remain silent.
The right to speak and express is such a powerful right which allows one to speak freely regardless of whether it will be heard or not. The freedom of speech enables citizens to speak out against wrong use of power and any event or action that they do not agree, no matter who will be accountable. It means that people can speak up against governments, authorities and people or organizations that have great influence.
This right is so important that one can now choose to go silent as a form of protest. To show that their voice has been muffled and they demand to be heard, silence is a great tool.
Written By: Mathews Regi