There is no right that is more fiercely guarded than of the Freedom of Speech. The right to be heard and the right to speak freely is an important aspect of every government that is accorded such a primacy in the hierarchy of rights. The reason for this is that every government is primarily established for the benefit of the people and when that government, for one reason or another, fails in its solemn obligation the citizens have the Freedom of Speech to try to rectify the situation. It is this hallmark of democracy which makes it the ideal form of government.
As such, it is important to remember that while there are individual rights there are also responsibilities that come along with it such as the maintenance of peace and order. Public order, therefore, is something that can be seen to protect the rights of others and in certain cases it can be perceived as a disadvantage because it requires the execution of certain acts or the meeting of certain criteria to ensure the safety of others. No right, even those granted by the constitution, is absolute.
Every right that a person is granted is always subject to certain limitations and restrictions. In protecting these rights, there are often considerations of public order that are detrimental because they render it nearly impossible to carry out the tasks necessary for the protection of individual rights such as free speech and assembly. This is perhaps the single most challenging job of the Justice system as it is tasked with not only the arduous job of ensuring that individual rights are upheld but also that public order be maintained.
There is no sacrifice and compromise when it comes to this and oftentimes justice is delayed or even frustrated in an effort to comply with public order policies such as due process, probable cause and public order. Oftentimes, there is a balancing test that is employed to make sure that the needs are served but this occasionally falls short and in these cases public order becomes more of a hindrance in the realization of a real democracy.
Courtney from Study Moose
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