Theright to freedom of speech is guaranteed in the constitution of anydemocratic country (Swain 102). Unfortunately, many people abuse thishuman right by spreading lies which may cause conflict with otherpeople. Such factors have negative impacts on the lives of otherindividuals. It is nice to utilise the right of free speech, but notif the liberated communication infringes on the rights of otherpersons. The misuse of freedom of expression mainly applies inpolitical, journalism, and social media. Politicians in manycountries have driven their nations to violence by spreadingtribalism or racism. People with regulatory oversight need to watchagainst those with the power to influence public opinions. Thepresence of clear guidelines or limitations ensures that freedoms andrights are not misused. Therefore, this paper elaborates the need forrestrictions to regulate this freedom considering the vices likeracism and tribalism that arise from the abuse of the freedom ofspeech.
Notably,the right to free speech is deeply enshrined in the U.S.Constitution. The law protects the citizens of U.S. against socialvictimisation by allowing them to express their opinions freely onany particular matter of concern. The proliferation of the Internethas created a platform for open dialogue (Anwar 2). In fact, socialmedia is one of the most important sites where people can expressthemselves. Users are usually free to state their opinions on a broadarray of topics. Nevertheless, online blogs are replete with selfishbehaviour that engenders hostility and hatred (Talal 1). Besides,persons routinely curtail the rights of others by using threats andoffensive messages. Facebook and Twitter have implemented anddeployed mechanisms designed to eradicate hate speech. The system isdesigned to detect and remove the users with a tendency of spreadingintolerance and enmity towards others. This setup highlights the factthat too much freedom is always harmful and can be misused.Consequently, limitations are required to prevent people fromfostering negative propaganda.
Individualswith the power to influence public opinions such politicians andjournalists have an ethical obligation of using the freedom of speechto promote peace through their speeches. The freedom of pressstipulates that journalists are free to discuss or criticise theactivities of government and private structures (Steel 156).Journalists enable citizens to express opinions presented by themajority. Censorships are critical to accentuate press freedom,especially where adverse viewpoints are given concerning religiousbeliefs. In some instances, journalists have misused their freedomsfor the sake of serving personal interests. Subsequently, theirbiased articles and news stories have incited the public to violence,racism, or tribalism. Such outcomes typically occur through thenegative portrayal of influential leaders (Steel 1). Therefore, it isimportant to formulate limitations of speech to avoid negativejournalism that may trigger hatred among people.
Notably,placing limitations does not mean that the freedom of expression willbe violated it just implies that there will be some guidelines toprevent misuse. For example, the Charlie Hebdo attacks wereinstigated by the offensive depiction of Prophet Muhammad by theeditorsof newspapers. Muslimsare strongly opposed to any artisticportrayals of their religious icon. Such insensitive depictions causeneedless offence among the Muslim community. Although journalistshave the right to express themselves, they should respect the beliefsof their readership (Farook 1). Consequently, freedom of speech mustbe restricted to prevent infringingofotherpeople’s rights.
Thestatements made by politicians should be representing the publicinterests. It is unfortunate that when they get to power, they usetheir statements to create enmity among the public. Politicians caneasily influence public opinions through their speeches in somesituations, the speech can encourage racism. The society has takenconsiderable steps towards eliminating the vice of racism however,it is unfortunate that a few minutes of misled talk can destroyeverything the community has worked hard to build (Maussen and Ralph180). An example where a politicianused his speeches to spread racism during Donald Trump’scampaignspeecheswherehe bashed the Mexicans and African-Americans. It is important forsuch politicians to think about the impact that their speeches haveon the lives of the citizens they purport to represent. Therefore,limitations are significant in the case of politicians since theyseem to think that they are above the law.
Theexistence of multicultural societies causes people to have differentlanguages, beliefs, and practices. In this regard, everyone developsa unique perspective that needs to be acknowledged and respected. Thelack of regulations would harm the rights of certain people. In fact,minority groups need attention through the provision of a friendlyand tolerant environment (Maussen and Ralph 189). Legal statutes havebeen enacted to allow Muslims and African Americans to engage in freecommunication. Peaceful demonstrations are also allowed whenperceived injustices occur. Therefore, regulations on free speech cansafeguard the rights and interests of minority populations.
Governmentagencies must restrict aspects of harmful speech such asdiscriminative communication and incitement. Besides, non-legalresponses should be used to combat the challenges of hate speech.Youths and teenagers should be educated on the proper use of socialmedia. Institutional measures can be implemented to address negativespeech that occurs across many organisations. In this regard,government agencies must adopt programs and policies that promotefree and respectful speech (Bader 337). Media organisations typicallyreview the articles created by their staff before giving approvalsfor publishing. People should also be encouraged to show moretolerance towards the views and thoughts of others. It is proper tocriticise medical and scientific journals that perpetuate wrongfulideas (Swain 101). This criticism is important because the opinionsof scholars have a lasting effect on the viewpoints adopted byyouths.
Admittedly,curtailing the freedom of speech encourages influential persons toact with impunity. The actions of politicians must be scrutinised toprevent abuse. Positive criticism can highlight potential areas forimprovement. Furthermore, dissenters can help to show the discontentassociated with certain public policies. Corrective action would bealmost impossible without the permission of free speech. The FirstAmendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the enactment oflegislation that hinders freedom of speech (Christine 1). Engaging inpublic debates of controversial topics helps to raise awareness.Consequently, freedom of expression should be allowed in cases wherean issue affects the welfare of many citizens.
Inconclusion, it is necessary for people to have freedom of speechalthough this right should be regulated to prevent enmity which maybe triggered by some individuals like politicians and journalists whocan influence the public opinion. In the journalism field, thefreedom of press stipulates that stakeholders are at liberty todiscuss or criticise the activities of government and privatestructures. However, it is important that the journalists take theirethical obligation seriously to avoid using their freedom as a toolto incite citizens. Politicians can easily influence public opinionsthrough their speeches. In most cases, they have misused their powerby encouraging racism. Social media users must be wary of succumbingto intolerance through offensive posts. Therefore, all stakeholdersmust be cautious with their speech lest they destroy the steps thesociety has made to eliminate hatred and violence
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