Speech freedom is one of the most complicated, most volatile, and yet, most guarded concepts in the entire history of mankind. Most, if not all, conflicts usually arise from this freedom—whether it is at the personal level or for everyone to see and hear.
A lot of technological advancements have been made, especially in our modern age. Together with the birth of the Internet and various genetic and medical advancements, speech freedom in mass media is indeed a major achievement. This gives mankind an outlet for his different point of views and opinions. The gift of this freedom allows others to exercise their ability to judge issues based on the views of others.
The struggle of speech freedom
It is amazing to think about how mankind has persisted with making his opinions known. Over time, we have seen people who have utilized their speech freedom to its fullest, sometimes even to their own detriment.
The struggle has been around since the beginning of time. The Greeks are well known for cultivating this culture with their forums. Orators and intellectuals would be seen speaking to a crowd and encouraging an exchange in ideas and viewpoints. Plato and Socrates were just some of these outstanding orators who would inspire their followers into thinking for themselves. Such is the beauty of speech freedom.
There are those, however, who would take advantage of it for their own gain while suppressing it in others. Adolf Hitler, the passionate and excellent orator, would whip his Nazi party into frenzy with his speeches. During that time, however, a lot of people he deemed unworthy would suffer because of his brand of freedom.
The limits of speech freedom
As Uncle Ben would say, “with great power comes great responsibility”. This is true with speech freedom. With the ability to speak your mind and influence a lot of people, there must always be rules to abide by. Not all minds should be heard, anyway; especially those who would utilize it to further their own hidden agendas.
In our modern world, limits to speech freedom are given to mass media outlets. They are, in the first place, the voice of the public. Of course, limits should be within reason. In some cases, censures are too restrictive and journalists and politicians actually deem it illegal.
According to CNN, censures to speech freedom may vary from 80- 10%, depending mostly on the political situation of a country. In some countries where communism is the dominant political power, it is merely a façade and a formality. Every viewpoint opposing the communist party is restricted. In Western Europe, however, which is more developed, censures are easy to overcome.
Speech freedom in the modern world
Censures now normally restrict offensive language, provocative words, violence, and other instances that may be damaging to society. This may be the wisest approach to speech freedom—to limit what is harmful, but to also allow ideas and opinions to flourish.
Various people will, of course, have different opinions regarding censures. Some may find it too restrictive and limits freedom of choice. While others believe that it enhances and improves mass media from harmful influences.
In the end, speech freedom is not much different from any kind of freedom—everyone must be liable for it. No one can deny the fact that without censures, everything would fall into chaos.