Free Speech

by Yash 0 Comments

Freedom of speech is the right to articulate your opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction.

Free speech gives you the right to say whatever you want. However it does not mean people have to listen to it, let alone agree to it.

If you own a communication medium, a platform then you do not necessarily have to give space to anyone who wants to express their opinion.

If you own a newspaper and you refuse to carry my article that does not take away my right to free speech.

But if I write my article on my blog or on a website I own and you ask the government to block the access to my website, that does attack my right to free speech.

In simpler terms, I can print my opinions on a pamphlet and distribute it outside a railway station. That is free speech. If you don’t take the pamphlet, or take it and throw it away or wipe your nose with it, it does not affect my right to free speech.

So I can write a book, give a speech, write a poem, make a movie, draw a cartoon about whatever I want to convey. That is my freedom of expression. You DO NOT HAVE to read it, listen to it or watch it.

However there is a difference between free speech and hate speech. If you espouse hatred through your speeches, you can be prosecuted.

Here are some examples of free speech vs hate speech

I am a proud Hindu – Free speech
All Muslims are terrorists – Hate speech

Kejriwal is an idiot – Free speech
Kejriwal is a traitor, send him to Pakistan – Hate speech

Barkha Dutt is disgusting – Free speech
Someone should rape Barkha – Hate speech

There is no god – Free speech
Let’s burn all the churches – Hate speech

Identifying hate speech is just a matter of plain old commonsense. If you encourage violence through your speech it is hate speech. If you target a person or a group of people based on their race, colour, caste, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or any other criteria and your intention is to cause them harm – it is hate speech.

It’s as simple as that. Everybody is free to say anything as long they don’t intend harm to anyone. You don’t have to listen what they are saying, you don’t have to agree to what they are saying and you don’t have to provide them a platform either.

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