Freedom of Speech Pros and Cons
Freedom of speech is a political right of every human being that serves to communicate his/her ideas or opinions, using their body or property about any other person who is ready and willing to receive them. The right is also synonymously used to denote the freedom of expression. Under the freedom of rights, the right to seek, receive, or impart any information regardless of the medium of transformation is limited. Just like any other right, this one comes with certain limitations to actions such as obscenity, slander, libel, incitement to rebellion, violation of copyrights, and revealing any information that may be falsely classified. Freedom of rights is recognized as a basic human right, and it has its pros and cons (Powers 2).
There are several advantages of freedom of speech. The top of the list takes an opportunity when people can say anything they like regardless of the consciousness of the issue without fear of punishment or reprisal. This means that they can speak their mind concerning any act of oppression that they may observe. This allows many people to speak freely if they feel that any of their basic rights are being infringed. As a result, this right has led to the rise of philosophical and political theories. With the help of the freedom of speech, people can promote such ideas as capitalism, socialism, democracy, and animal rights (Barendt 89).
Freedom of speech is beneficial in the area of constitution and governance. People in different regions and countries of the world have protested against the status quo, which led to the change in the constitutions. While doing it, the world has experienced major changes such as the abolishment of some monarchies, the introduction of multiparty systems, and referendums to amend oppressive laws. Freedom of speech has led to the social movements that prompted many governments to enact legislation to promote democracy. There have been events such as lowering the voting age and allowing minorities to vote. All these constitutional developments were facilitated by the Bill of Rights (Bezanson 56).
This freedom of speech has been a key element in the development of the press. It has led to the creation of many news agencies in the world. Without this freedom, it would be impossible for the press to exist. This allows all people to speak freely against any event happening around them. Due to the news agencies, people can comment or condemn actions that affect their lives. Since the freedom of speech is protected, people working in the press can express their creativity and opinions. This freedom has enabled the press to inform and entertain the public. People who are working in the press can also perform their duties without fear of being punished for their opinions (Powers 27).
Freedom of speech has also been significant in economic advancements. Due to it, many people can earn a livelihood by expressing themselves. Many people work as analysts, comedians, actors, musicians, and poets among other forms of the arts. Other key improvements have been beneficial to trade. Freedom of speech has facilitated such acts as equal pay for equal work, affirmative action, and prevention of discrimination in the workplace. It allows workers to fight for their rights. Moreover, the freedom of speech has facilitated workers to form unions, which help them to negotiate an agreement concerning better pay and welfare for their services. Such important policies as a ban on child labor have also been implemented. Workers can also strike to make sure that employers do not oppress them.
Another advantage of the freedom of rights is in the context of religion. Freedom of speech implies that no one is prevented from spreading his or her religious beliefs. The church has become a powerful institution in the world today. It can guide and give some advice to anyone willing to listen. It is also able to give its opinion on governance. The church today can spread the message of God to the masses. Freedom of expression means that everyone has a chance to join a religion of his/her choice. Society as a whole is becoming a better place with freedom of expression. Teachers and religious leaders can spread the message of morality and goodness. As a result, people can influence children to become law-abiding and upright citizens. Role models use their freedom of speech to motivate others to become better. It has also contributed to the rise of interest in culture and sports in the world (Powers 29).
However, freedom of speech also has several disadvantages. First, it can be misused by people who want to harm or offend others. People violate this right by spreading false information about others. Consequently, many people litigate to demand justice due to defamation or slander. Thus, this right has led to people limiting the rights of others (Bezanson 56).
Additionally, the freedom of speech leaves a loophole for racism. People insult others because of the color of their skin, religious background, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. There have been numerous cases of people spreading hatred based on religious views by terming them as wrong. This freedom can also be misused by people to provoke civil conflicts. It has also been misused by people who release information that is a threat to security. In such a way, information that is meant to be kept secret from the public domain is sometimes leaked as a result of the freedom of speech. If a piece of information is released, there is a risk that it would lead to war among countries (Powers 103).
Freedom of speech has led to the moral degradation of society. Society is corrupted by people expressing their freedoms. Freedom of speech is attributed to the rise of vice that incorporates pornography, abortion on demand, drug abuse, and bullying. All these factors are a result of people expressing themselves (Barendt 138).
Freedom of speech has been a major challenge in the achievement of political stability in many countries. It is utilized by many extremists who use any available means to spread their ideas among other people. Some countries have been thrown into a civil war because of extremists who want their ideas to become lawful. It has also been misused by people who release information that is considered to be treason. Other people can use freedom of speech to release information that causes tension in their countries (Barendt 154).
In conclusion, freedom of expression has many benefits. There is no doubt that it has caused a lot of advantages in all areas of life such as politics, religion, culture, and sports. People have a chance to express their ideas and thoughts through different mediums of spreading information. However, the right also has some disadvantages that are attached to it. People used this freedom to oppress and insult others. Nevertheless, its pros outweigh the cons. It is the basic right of every person to have the freedom of speech, but everyone is responsible for not using it to violate the rights of others.