Freedom of Expression
What is Freedom of Expression? According to google: Definition. Right to express one’s ideas and opinions freely through speech, writing, and other forms of communication but without deliberately causing harm to others’ character and/or reputation by false or misleading statements. Freedom of press is part of freedom of expression.
Currently with the rise of social media there have been many debates over one’s freedom of expression. Now a days, everyone is quick to express their ideas on social media, with just one click you can approve or condone something. Judge someone quickly or based on facts. People support based on their views or even convict people before their case is tried in court.
Is there a limit to freedom of expression or should we do away with political correctness and say what we want?
Often I will read an article and than read the comments. I find the comment section to be very interesting as it contains peoples views based on the facts and also based on snap judgement. There is always people arguing with each other, defending their opinion, and condemning others.
Having a variety of opinions should make for a well balanced debate where each person can learn from someone else. Yet, from what I have noticed it can more often than not turn into an argument of ‘well if you don’t agree with me than you are wrong’.
Current examples would be the Oscars controversy, United States election, especially with Donald Trump, refugees, sports scandals and many more. People are being asked what do you think of the Oscars or Trump? Where do you stand on this issue? Many say that they are sick of the world being so ‘PC’ and we should say what we want to say. I agree with this, however the manner in which we express ourselves should be addressed.
As the definition states above, we have the right to express ourselves without harming others. So ‘trolls’ on social media, fist fights at rallies, cheering when someone is called ugly, stupid, waste of time and talentless is considered harming others. Yet, this type of freedom of speech seems to be growing and supported by more people. When did having an opinion translate to insulting or condemning others? Why are people drawn to this? Is there a way to express ourselves without attacking others? Shouldn’t we look for a way?
Bullying is a major concern in schools, workplaces, social media and in our community. Everywhere people are discussing, investigating, training and promoting anti-bullying. Is it hypercritical than, when we are against all forms of bullying yet use social media to critize people and cheer for politicians who frequently resort to school yard name calling.
Why the divide on this issue? Anti-bullying yes, Freedom of speech in any form yes. Where is the line? Should there be one? Or to each their own?
Personally I don’t have a clear simple answer to the questions address here. I have been reading about freedom of expression and noticing the positive impact it can have on individuals and society when someone raises their voice to make a positive change for others. I have also been investigating the negative impact when someone uses their voice to condemn others based on their looks, religion, race, gender and what they wear. We don’t have to agree with each other, healthy debates can be informative and insightful. Name calling, rash judgements of others, condemning others, and more is a line that does not need or should be crossed as it truly serves no purpose other than to incite negativity.
When it comes to ‘Freedom of Expression’ chose to use your voice to create a positive change in the world around you. Ask yourself, would I say this to someone if they were standing in front of me? Would I want to be spoken to this way? There are many ways to express ourselves, we choose how we want our voices to be heard. Choose wisely.