Freedom of Speech

1 January 2017

It is a right that should be practiced everywhere in the world, yet some countries in the world don’t. People must live in fear and be afraid to say anything. Only close friends share their opinions because they know it won’t be overheard by someone who will report it to the authorities. They can’t criticize their government when they make important decisions. Not having freedom of expression is holding them back. People have to pretend that everything that is being done by the authorities is splendid.

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With technology being part of our daily life expressing yourself has become even easier and lets you be heard by so many people. Not everyone but most of the people use social media as a way to connect with friends and colleagues. Websites like Facebook and Twitter are like worldwide public forum where something you say can be heard by hundreds or thousands of people, especially when there’s some heated debated going on about some hot topic. Times like these are when you have to be careful what you say.

Yes, it is a great right to express yourself freely but sometimes people forget that what they say can offend others and make them look bad in the long run. Alexandra Wallace is a perfect example. A UCLA student that last year posted a video on YouTube ranting about Asians being disrespectful at the library and using their cellphones. The video became famous within days and with it came the ridicule. Many people on YouTube made reply videos making fun of her. Found her Facebook and sent her threatening messages, emailing her and even calling her phone.

A. Wallace withdrew from UCLA couple days later. This is a perfect example where you should think before you say something on social media. That brings up the idea about restricting the freedom of expression. What is the point of restricting it? It is going to be like we don’t have the freedom of expression then. If we do place restrictions, First Amendment should come with an asterisk after it and then you should go to the end of the page and find out what that asterisk means.

You will end up reading tons of pages of “Terms and Conditions” like on some credit card application. Freedom of expression should not come with an asterisk after it; otherwise it should be renamed to something else and not include the word “freedom” in it. There is nothing “freedom” about it if there’s going to be restrictions on what and how you can express yourself. Instead, people should be reminded about something called common sense. There are things that are right to talk about and things that are frowned upon by the society.

That is where there’s two big differences, when it is frowned upon to talk about something by government and when it is frowned upon by the society. When the government doesn’t want you to talk about something that is when you can face legal actions for what you say. When it is frowned upon by the society, you won’t face legal actions. Yes you may be made fun of but you won’t go to jail for it. You should use common sense and figure it out yourself if what you are about to say will turn out for good or bad.

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