The phrase “freedom of speech” refers to an individual’s right to speak freely, or to express oneself without suppression from the others. In addition, the freedom of speech may refer to a person’s ability to seek, impart, or receive information without influences that may limit the freedom. People can express their opinion or views through the right of freedom to speech. This right is recognized by many nations’ governments, as well as both international and regional human rights organizations.
For instance, the United States government protects the peoples’ right of freedom to speech through the First Amendment, which is found in the constitution. The freedom of speech though a right has and can be abused if it’s not limited, and the need to prevent the freedom of speech abuse has made it necessary for governments to put into place some limitations to this right. These limitations are adopted so that cases of abuse through speech such as obscenity and use of insults are curbed. All over the world, the abuse of the freedom of speech has become a common phenomenon.
The right to freedom of speech can be dangerous when abused (Andrew, 2005, p. 65). Discussion The freedom of speech can become abused when it’s used to create conflicts, disagreements, and in some cases war. Speech involves the use of words and phrases to express one’s opinion about an issue. These phrases or words can be used to express feelings of hatred, dislike, and dissatisfaction. As human beings, it is very natural for us to go through tragic and painful experiences . These experiences may trigger feelings of hatred and dislike towards those we may perceive as having contributed to our misfortunes.
For example, unfair treatment of a person by the others may create negative feelings towards the others. These feelings can be expressed by our actions, deeds, or speech. When negative feelings are expressed through speech, they may lead to the abuse of the freedom . A good example is the use of insults or inappropriate language towards other people. The words that may be used in speech can be insensitive and are most likely to violate the rights of the other people. This no doubt proves that freedom of speech can be used to abuse freedom.
It is every person’s right to be respected, and the use of abusive language against a person should not be tolerated. However, many individuals and human rights activists advocate for freedom of speech without any limitations. It is a fact that the use of speech is one of the best ways through which people can express how they feel, as well as their views about different issues (Lee, 1988, p. 24). But the question that we need to ask ourselves is, to what extent should the freedom of speech be allowed?
The human nature triggers people to exploit opportunities for their own benefits, which make them abuse the right to speech for their selfish needs. So many conflicts, disagreements, and wars emanate from the abuse of the freedom of speech. The use of feelings and emotions that promote hatred triggers conflicts, which have resulted to loss of human life or injuries. The individuals or a group of people that is insulted tends to retaliate the attacks . It is no wonder then that a single instance of abuse leads to many more successive cases of abuse.
Another way through which the freedom of speech can be abused is by suppressing the freedom to speak in other people so that they do not express themselves as they would desire. This occurs when speech is used to manipulate people, or to make them submit to the selfish desires of one person. Such cases of abuse are often experienced in the political world. Individuals or groups may use speech to manipulate and threaten people, so that they do not interfere with their political interests. The people are prevented from making independent decisions through threatening statements.
Since we all belong to a certain political system in our respective nations, we are likely to experience political influences. Democracy has nowadays become a common feature in the political systems. This has given the citizens the right to speak freely about the political evils and illegal actions that may exist in the society (Sunstein, 1995, p 63). This is a positive way of using the freedom of speech. However, it becomes tragic when the same right is used to suppress the rights of the others. The people are coerced not to use their freedom to speech, since it’s considered to threaten some selfish needs.
The freedom of speech is also abused when people speak to defy the social morals and ethics. For instance, the use of obscene language goes against many societies’ ethics and morals. The modern technology through the Internet is one of the communication channels that people use to exploit the freedom of speech for the wrong reasons. The Internet is currently causing devastating effects on the morals and ethics of the societies. Through this form of communication, the right to speak is being abused through inappropriate use of language, with the websites giving the people an opportunity to exploit the freedom of speech for the wrong reasons.
There is no argument that the internet is of great benefits to the people. However, it is being used by the people to offend and to promote hatred against the others. The freedom to speak freely has its merits and demerits. This right to speech is abused through dishonesty. For many of us, we cannot count the number of times that we have used this right to give misleading or false information as a way of protecting our selfish interests. When this information is received by the others, it creates room for more abuse.
Any action or deed that goes against the virtues and the ethics of the society can be termed as abuse of the human rights, freedom of speech included. The present day business world is very competitive, and all business enterprises are now capitalizing on marketing their products for maximum returns. Through advertising, many corporate bodies use false information to woo consumers, a situation that represents the abuse of freedom of speech . The freedom of speech then becomes dangerous when it’s abused. Conclusion The freedom of speech is a human right which allows us to express our feelings and opinion.
When properly used, it is of great importance. On the other hand, this right can be abused for various reasons. This becomes very dangerous, a situation that brings out the negative side of free speech in people. In order to prevent this, limitations need to be adopted so that this right is used for the good of the people.
Andrew, Puddephatt. Freedom of Expression: The essentials of Human Rights, Hodder Arnold, pg. 127, 2005 Lee, Bollinger. The Tolerant Society. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988 Sunstein, Cass. Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech. Publishing Research Quarterly 11 (4): 58–72, 1995