Freedom of Speech
- It helps an individual to attain self-fulfillment.
- It assists in the discovery of truth.
- It strengthens the capacity of an individual in participating in decision-making.
- It provides a mechanism by which it would be possible to establish a reasonable balance between stability and social change.
- All members of society would be able to form their own beliefs and communicate them freely to others
The fundamental principle involved here is the people’s right to know. Freedom of speech and expression should, therefore, receive generous support from all those who believe in the participation of people in the administration. It is on account of this special interest which society has in the freedom of speech and expression that the approach of the Government should be more cautious while levying taxes on matters of concerning newspaper industry than while levying taxes on other matters.
Explaining the scope of freedom of speech and expression Supreme Court has said that the words “freedom of speech and expression” must be broadly constructed to include the freedom to circulate one’s views by words of mouth or in writing or through audiovisual instrumentalities. It therefore includes the right to propagate one’s views through the print media or through any other communication channel e.g. the radio and the television. Every citizen of this country therefore has the right to air his or their views through the printing and or the electronic media subject of course to permissible restrictions imposed under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
Freedom to air one’s view is the lifeline of any democratic institution and any attempt to stifle, suffocate or gag this right would sound a death knell to democracy and would help usher in autocracy or dictatorship. The modern communication mediums advance public interest by informing the public of the events and development that have taken place and thereby educating the voters, a role considered significant for the vivacious functioning of a democracy. Therefore, in any setup more so in a democratic setup like ours, broadcasting of news and views for popular consumption is a must and any attempt to deny the same must be frowned upon unless it falls within the mischief of Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
The various communication channels are great spreaders of news and views and make considerable impact on the minds of readers and viewers and our known to mould public opinion on vitals issues of national importance. The freedom of speech and expression includes freedom of circulation and propagation of ideas and therefore the right extends to the citizen to use the media to answer the criticism leveled against the views propagated by him. Every free citizen has undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases. This freedom must, however, be exercised with circumspection and care must be taken not to trench on the rights of other citizens or to jeopardise public interest.
Freedom of speech is the right afforded to a person to be able to speak his or her mind without fear that the government will censor or restrict what they have to say, or will retaliate against them for expressing himself. People are often confused by this concept, however, thinking that they can say anything that pops into their heads without repercussion. Just because you are allowed to say whatever you want does not mean that you will not suffer consequences as a result – it just means that the government cannot violate your right to do so.
The U.S. has many laws that place limits on speech and other forms of expression, which may be seen as harsh restrictions. These include prohibitions against defamation, slander, copyright violations, and trade secrets, amongst others. American philosopher Joel Feinberg posited what is known as the “offense principle,” which works to prohibit speech that is clearly offensive, or which can harm society as a whole, or a group in particular, such as racial hate speech, or hate speech aimed at someone’s religion.
Different countries have different rules insofar as freedom of speech is concerned, with some countries’ governments becoming more involved than other governments in the affairs of their citizens. Communist countries like China are often in the news for blocking their citizens’ access to the internet, and restricting their ability to both read and express ideas and beliefs of which their government does not approve. Here in the United States, examples of freedom of speech include criticisms against the government, and the promotion of ideas or beliefs that others might find to be controversial. In the U.S., these kinds of statements are allowed, within the constraints of the “offense principle,” or the “harm principle.”