Freedom of Speech (preliminary version)

Freedom of Speech (preliminary version) (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

Freedom is the hallmark of a civilised society and so is mutual respect! Free speech is not a permission to indulge in defamation or libel. Why am I writing a post on the freedom of speech? I had written a post earlier on free speech http://antoniarapheal.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/free-speech-or-just-an-excuse-to-be-insensitive/

And I came across very interesting comments. Many held the opinion that reprimanding commentators, writers etc. to be more sensitive and curtail their insults or jokes that satirize individuals by drawing inferences to the disabled was a hindrance to free speech! Although thoroughly upset with the behaviour they still defended it in the name of free speech.

This post is to illuminate my well-intentioned fellow bloggers (no, I did not want to argue on a discussion forum) on the basic tenets of free speech. In the wise words of a great thinker (if memory serves me right its Abraham Lincoln but Google doesn’t support my notion), “You are free to say whatever you like but not in any manner you like!”

Freedom is indeed precious and the birth right of every individual, as is the right to a person’s emotional and mental well-being, in simple terms no one has the right to poke fun at you because you are different in the name of free speech. While I am not calling on a crack down on name calling, what I am trying to highlight is, when did we as a society begin to shy away from our moral responsibility to defend the oppressed and abused? Which school of thought has brainwashed us into believing that people have every right to deride and joke at the less fortunate or different all in name of free speech and those derided have no rights to respect and equality?

When did the right to an opinion get distorted into the right to abuse and discriminate? It is not a right but an offence and it saddens me that in today’s age we have evolved to such a tolerant degree that we have incorporated an offence as a basic human right. What’s next? Declaring schoolyard bullying as the right to freedom of expression? For those still in doubt here is the multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that covers Freedom of speech:

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Article 19

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals.

Yes, the right to freedom of speech carries with it responsibilities, to be mindful of the right of an individual to mutual respect. Power without control is useless and freedom without boundaries is chaos.

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About Antonia Rapheal

An aspiring writer, blogger, PR professional & mother of three. I blog on life, love, God, family, kids and everything in between!

11 responses »

  1. [主页] says:

    Very nice blog post. I definitely appreciate this site.
    Keep writing!

  2. lifeincircle says:

    hi antonia! good to read your posts again! as we know “God is not a God of disorder but of peace”(1Cor14:33) . He is not the author of confusion so i share your views on this. Freedom’s intent is for peace, not chaos.

    • Hey there! You have been missed! Life gets you into a rigmarole doesn’t it? Thank God for God! True, though our lord says that he did not come to bring peace but sword, his war is with the devil. I do believe the devil, the father of lies, has created a false society portraying truth and justice but inside it festers in all that is untrue and unholy. The fact that many think it is their right to insult and abuse (in the guise of freedom of speech) is a glaring testimony to the works of the devil.

  3. [...] Freedom without boundaries is chaos. (antoniarapheal.wordpress.com) [...]

  4. [...] Freedom without boundaries is chaos. (antoniarapheal.wordpress.com) [...]

  5. panos48 says:

    Your Article has been republished by SouthWeb – Blogging Around – Congratulations. See your article here: http://southweb.co.za/blog/freedom-without-boundaries-is-chaos/

  6. [...] Freedom without boundaries is chaos. (antoniarapheal.wordpress.com) [...]

  7. shafeeqhamza says:

    In electronics there is a requirement for devices to accept all interference and continue to function. If we use this analogy, the human consciousness is exposed to so much caustic and chaotic radiation that we must quickly refine this ability or risk insanity.

    By far this is the better freedom than that of speech – viz., the ability to not be hurt by someone’s attempts to acquire power through hurting someone else.

    Society has put up strong barriers to physical violence, and the result is we see fewer violent episodes in public. But can we restrict the mind similarly? Oblige people to manners? Who would define manners? Utopia!

    • How wise are your words, the inbuilt chip that electronics have we have it to God, the ultimate programmer, has given us a morality chip. We just need to use it!
      Our innate sense of right and wrong should guide us well, if only we as a society could stop suppressing the voice of love and reason in the name of freedom, rights and what not! Utopia starts with u &me, with our words, our actions, if we stand up for what is right and encourage others to do so, that will be the birth of utopia!

  8. Uzoma says:

    This is food for thought, Antonia. Another fabulous posts about our existence. My take: I also agree that everyone has the right to talk, but not in any manner. Respect and a sense of love is required in our dealings with others. Unfortunately, our world is a mix of good and bad. It hurts to see when one’s right is abused because s/he is incapable doing anything or even seeking proper justice in the end. I live in such a society like this.

    • This is exactly why I write what I do, people need to stop abusing their freedom because they have no idea what is to not have any. Freedom is a right but also a Privilege, since it’s not available to all and to abuse the freedom of others just because they are not aware or unable to defend themselves, is inexcusable. To do injustice and to allow it both are equally wrong; (i forgot who said that). we need to stand up for all that is right before the moral fiber of our society is tarnished beyond repair.

Let me know what you think, after all we think therefore we are.. alive?

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