Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Is free speech important? Watch

  • View Poll Results: Is free speech important?
    Yes
    46
    80.70%
    Yes, as long as it isn't offensive
    9
    15.79%
    No
    2
    3.51%

    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    yes, free speech is arguably even more important than democracy itself in my opinion, because free speech *precedes* democracy. democray cannot function without it and free speech has advanced our civilisation more than democracy in my opinion. science, academics, technology, etc, could not develop without it, and religion's power over the state could not be weakened without it either.

    I don't care how offensive somebody's mere words are
    so long as they are not undermining my liberty and security, I don't give a crap
    they could be a KKK, nazi, racist, communist, fascist, radical feminist etc for all I cared - I *don't* care.
    so long as nobody is being threatened or directly harmed altogether, free speech is a good value
    and free speech, on that basis, should NEVER be limited
    to limit speech via law is the same as using violence to stop non-violence which is disgraceful
    use words to combat words, not fists against words.
    if you need violence and law to defend yourself and your reputation, you don't deserve a reputation in the first place
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Cherub012)
    Was the second option in the poll a serious one?
    I mean, I wouldn't take it seriously, but clearly 5 people have.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    Of course it is. Free speech is one the most important freedoms in Western society.

    'Offence' should not be a reason to restrict speech. Firstly, it's highly subjective. Secondly, nothing really happens to a person when they're offended. If something offends you, how you deal with that and how it affects you is your decision. You can either ignore it, cry about it, or say something back.

    The only speech that should see any restriction and legal consequences would be things like libel and contempt. Lying, essentially. It's okay to espouse an opinion or joke, even if it offends, but lies can result in people losing money, jobs, or even being imprisoned.

    That and credible threats/harassment. Just saying "Die b**ch!" as a random troll on the internet isn't really something that needs to be taken seriously. Just block/ban where appropriate.' But when things start getting real and credible, that's when Johnny Law should step in.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    It is very important. I think UK laws go to far in restricting free speech. I don't think expressing an opinion should be a crime no matter how unpleasant it is.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Free speech means that people can call you racist because of wanting to talk about immigration.

    Free speech means people can express their support for the IRA or Hezbollah.

    Free speech means people can make jokes on facebook about British soldiers being killed and say they deserve it.

    Free speech means people can say that infidels should be beheaded and Israel should be wiped off the map.
    The first could be considered slander and thus wouldn't necessarily be protected under free speech. This is an area I would say might justify some form of legal action depending on the situation. You can't just spread lies about people to hurt their careers and reputation.

    But the rest, though abhorrent and offensive, would (or at least should) be protected free speech, and most free speech advocates and I would be okay with that. At least in terms of criminality.

    The last one though may be interpreted as a threat. But this would depend on credibility and context. Also the word 'should' is important here. It makes it more of an opinion than a command, so to speak.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Dandaman1)
    The first could be considered slander and thus wouldn't necessarily be protected under free speech. This is an area I would say might justify some form of legal action depending on the situation. You can't just spread lies about people to hurt their careers and reputation.
    lol snowflake
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Count Bezukhov)
    It is one of the most important aspects of our society; without it, good ideas may be suppressed and bad ideas may not be discredited.
    Why do you assume the gene pool of ideas selects for the good ideas?
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    lol snowflake
    I have absoluty no idea what being a special snowflake has to do with this...
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    According to whom? I assume you mean anybody that disagrees with you. The echo chamber is bad enough without having it legally mandated according to whoever is in power.
    You do realize the echo chamber of the right is by far the biggest and based on far more lies and misinformation?
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Stoke123)
    To some extent, but mainly no.

    Because of free speech, people are led to believe there are more than 2 genders.

    And society accepted it
    And what is wrong with that?
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Dandaman1)
    Of course it is. Free speech is one the most important freedoms in Western society.

    'Offence' should not be a reason to restrict speech. Firstly, it's highly subjective. Secondly, nothing really happens to a person when they're offended. If something offends you, how you deal with that and how it affects you is your decision. You can either ignore it, cry about it, or say something back.

    The only speech that should see any restriction and legal consequences would be things like libel and contempt. Lying, essentially. It's okay to espouse an opinion or joke, even if it offends, but lies can result in people losing money, jobs, or even being imprisoned.

    That and credible threats/harassment. Just saying "Die b**ch!" as a random troll on the internet isn't really something that needs to be taken seriously. Just block/ban where appropriate.' But when things start getting real and credible, that's when Johnny Law should step in.
    What's the difference between offence and libel? At what point is targeted offence and systematic rhetoric just "offence" and not libel?

    And ironically lying is exactly what Brexiters and Trump did...
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by yudothis)
    What's the difference between offence and libel? At what point is targeted offence and systematic rhetoric just "offence" and not libel?

    And ironically lying is exactly what Brexiters and Trump did...
    When it involves deceit or an attempt to slander. It's actually a pretty obvious question to answer. "Merkel's open borders policy in 2015 led to a whole load of rapes in Germany" might offend you, but it's not libellous. "Yudothis has a 1tb External HDD filled with kiddy porn" is clearly something quite different.

    Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by PurpleNerple)
    yes, free speech is arguably even more important than democracy itself in my opinion, because free speech *precedes* democracy. democray cannot function without it and free speech has advanced our civilisation more than democracy in my opinion. science, academics, technology, etc, could not develop without it, and religion's power over the state could not be weakened without it either.

    I don't care how offensive somebody's mere words are
    so long as they are not undermining my liberty and security, I don't give a crap
    they could be a KKK, nazi, racist, communist, fascist, radical feminist etc for all I cared - I *don't* care.
    so long as nobody is being threatened or directly harmed altogether, free speech is a good value
    and free speech, on that basis, should NEVER be limited
    to limit speech via law is the same as using violence to stop non-violence which is disgraceful
    use words to combat words, not fists against words.
    if you need violence and law to defend yourself and your reputation, you don't deserve a reputation in the first place
    Very well said. Freedom Of Speech is far more important than Democracy. If Democracy is lost it can be regained with the freedom to express it in words. On a personal a level, it's important for me to believe my freedom of speech was not granted to me by any government action. It's a " constituent part ", of my humanity.

    You wrote," To limit free speech via law is the same as using violence to stop non-violence which is disgraceful." Excellent!
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jape)
    "Yudothis has a 1tb External HDD filled with kiddy porn"
    Knew it.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Dandaman1)
    The first could be considered slander and thus wouldn't necessarily be protected under free speech. This is an area I would say might justify some form of legal action depending on the situation. You can't just spread lies about people to hurt their careers and reputation.
    Would be a difficult one. For a start, it depends what legal system you're talking about. In English law, the burden of proof for defamation is effectively on the defendant - all the claimant has to prove is that the speech in question is indeed defamatory. In most other countries, the claimant has to prove that the speech in question is both defamatory and false.

    But more significantly for a case on something as abstract and even subjective as racism, a defendant wouldn't necessarily have to demonstrate that their statement was true, merely that it was justified. Which makes it pretty likely that as long as the defendant had some sort of coherent argument defending their position, that courts would likely see it as an opinion and find in their favour.

    In other words, it's pretty hard to win defamation suit against someone calling you racist just because you object to the reasoning used to come to that conclusion. You'd only really have a shot if the statement had been based on particular evidence which could be shown to be at fault (and that the defendant ought to have known that). For instance, Frankie Boyle won a libel suit against the Mirror for calling him racist, on the basis that they'd presented some of his jokes clearly intended to parody racism as if they were sincere.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by anarchism101)
    Would be a difficult one. For a start, it depends what legal system you're talking about. In English law, the burden of proof for defamation is effectively on the defendant - all the claimant has to prove is that the speech in question is indeed defamatory. In most other countries, the claimant has to prove that the speech in question is both defamatory and false.

    But more significantly for a case on something as abstract and even subjective as racism, a defendant wouldn't necessarily have to demonstrate that their statement was true, merely that it was justified. Which makes it pretty likely that as long as the defendant had some sort of coherent argument defending their position, that courts would likely see it as an opinion and find in their favour.

    In other words, it's pretty hard to win defamation suit against someone calling you racist just because you object to the reasoning used to come to that conclusion. You'd only really have a shot if the statement had been based on particular evidence which could be shown to be at fault (and that the defendant ought to have known that). For instance, Frankie Boyle won a libel suit against the Mirror for calling him racist, on the basis that they'd presented some of his jokes clearly intended to parody racism as if they were sincere.
    Yes, defamation can be a tricky one. But I for one would still like to see the media held more accountable for what they say about people.

    This is why I've come to take things like libel so seriously. I've seen just how bad it can get and the damage it can do. Lies and misinformation spread around the web like a disease. An innocent person can become a villain in the eyes of the public overnight just because journalists, for example, would rather defame or spread innuendo and hearsay rather than report carefully and accurately.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Dandaman1)
    Yes, defamation can be a tricky one. But I for one would still like to see the media held more accountable for what they say about people.

    This is why I've come to take things like libel so seriously. I've seen just how bad it can get and the damage it can do. Lies and misinformation spread around the web like a disease. An innocent person can become a villain in the eyes of the public overnight just because journalists, for example, would rather defame or spread innuendo and hearsay rather than report carefully and accurately.
    There's a difference, though, between a specific incident and a general opinion. The former have facts which can be judged true or false, or at least evidence from which a conclusion can be judged justified or unjustified, and in general English libel law works to protect the victims of this quite well. The latter, by contrast, if they make it to a full trial, ends up abusing the court to rule on what is an acceptable opinion, often on matters which judges and jurors lack expertise in.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by oldercon1953)
    Very well said. Freedom Of Speech is far more important than Democracy. If Democracy is lost it can be regained with the freedom to express it in words. On a personal a level, it's important for me to believe my freedom of speech was not granted to me by any government action. It's a " constituent part ", of my humanity.

    You wrote," To limit free speech via law is the same as using violence to stop non-violence which is disgraceful." Excellent!
    thanks a lot - glad you agree
    government using law to stop non-violent actions is ultimately a sign that they've lost the argument. so in one sense, a "strong government" is actually a weak one
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Free speech means that people can call you racist because of wanting to talk about immigration.

    Free speech means people can express their support for the IRA or Hezbollah.

    Free speech means people can make jokes on facebook about British soldiers being killed and say they deserve it.

    Free speech means people can say that infidels should be beheaded and Israel should be wiped off the map.
    So, it allows people to say what they think, how is that bad? You are allowed to reply to them, and then they can reply to you, or do you prefer to have everyone with different/minority/stupid opinions silenced?
    The right to say what you want is fundamental. Not the right to hear what you approve or the right not be offended by what others say. The moment you think you are right to limit what others can say, you are getting out of your personal sphere of liberties and interfering with theirs. Go read about liberalism.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    What newspaper do you read/prefer?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.