Freedom of speech is a phrase that appears often in contemporary society. According to definition, freedom of speech is a political concept that gives citizens the right to express themselves, mainly in order to defend themselves in an unfair situation, without being punished. It is about the relationship between the individual and the state. However, freedom of speech has become a buzzword that often is misunderstood and used as an argument to support one’s right to force their opinion on someone else or to express offensive or discriminative opinion.
Often we associate freedom of speech with citizen’s critic of various political topics, but on social media, freedom of expression often crosses the line. Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic comments or publications, or even bullying and harassment on the Internet, make a large part of social media content, especially in places where users can have anonymity. This not only harms other people emotionally but can also lead to physical violence and harm.
In all these situations freedom of speech is what gives certain individuals the chance to spread hatred and it also causes many to avoid punishment for their hateful speech as their act is considered under the law of freedom of expression.
The question is how we can set limits for people’s right to express their opinion without hurting others? It is a difficult balance to find and often depends on how society generally looks at this issue. We, citizens, must have the right to discuss all matters that are important to us, to be able to openly stand for our rights and to express our positions and views without being persecuted for it. However, as Victor Hugo has said, “One’s freedom ends where another’s freedom begins.” This means that our right to express ourselves ends where it begins to harm another human.
Article: Lina Stamenova