Free Speech vs. Security - Essay Example

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Free Speech vs. Security
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Freedom of speech is a pride of any democratic society. Recently the issue of Free speech has become a topic of hot debate due to the assertions from the government that is increasing the threat to security and stability of the state. A society which promotes free speech brings with itself many promises and hopes of a prosperous society. While there are numerous benefits of a society that is build on the foundations of free speech it sometimes also has to face negative consequences. A free society provides opportunities to the people to have an open discussion about the existing problems in the society; hence people can take their voice to the higher authorities and protest against any government policies and practices which they oppose. It allows for the debate and resolution of these problems by the mutual consent of the people. However from the homeland security perspective, a society incorporating free speech may appear as a threat to political stability. The best example here is of Egypt where normal citizens planned a historic protest on a social networking website. Also in a society where people from different racial and religious background live, freedom of speech may provoke a particular community. In such a case, spread of violence and hatred may occur. The use of internet has allowed everyone to speak freely without any fear. The amount of information available on the internet is formidable and the people have easy access to it (Sunstein, 1995). Homeland security considers this availability of extensive amount of information as a security threat as it may be used for negative purposes and this is the reason why recently a bill has been passed which gives government the right to bar internet access if it deems it appropriate. Everyone should know that accompanying the right of free speech are the responsibilities associated with it. The responsibility of people increases multifold during wartime. Outbreak of bad news about the war and stories of violence and killings may be harmful during a war. During delicate times like these, the law must intervene and curtail the rights of free speech to prevent any unrest. However I believe that curtailing of free speech should only take place in case of a country engaging in an external war like American war on Iraq and Afghanistan (Denvir, 2004). In case of an internal rebellion like that in Egypt, the right of free speech should not be throttled. Egyptian authorities started to fear freedom of speech and banned internet access to public for five days. In my point of view, it was totally an undemocratic act and should be considered an attack on the people’s freedom. Curtailing freedom of speech under the pretext of hampering internal violence is not the right course of action. People should have the liberty to express their opinions openly so that the authorities become aware of the demands of the people and take right decisions to resolve the issue during war times, people should have the liberty to voice their opinions with respect regarding the war even if it is against the government (Taylor, 2011). Freedom of Speech is a basic right of everyone but a person must be careful and enjoy this right with care and responsibility. People should be allowed to speak freely without any fear and curtailing of free speech must only be done in the situation of war. Works Cited Denvir, J. (2004, November 30). Free Speech and Censorship During Wartime. Retrieved June 07, 2011, from The Berkeley Daily Planet: Sunstein, C. R. (1995). Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech. Free Press. Taylor, C. (2011, May 04). Free speech in a time of war. Retrieved June 07, 2011, from Opinion Zone: Read More
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