Sometimes it is necessary and justified for government to restrict freedom of speech
Sometimes it is necessary and justified for government to restrict freedom of speech.
In a historical judgment highlighting the contours of free speech, the Supreme Court scrapped the much abused Section 66A of the IT Act which authorized police officials to arrest people for social media posts stated as “offensive “or “menacing”. Freedom of speech is often believed as one of the most important tenets of democracy. Everyone has a fundamental right of expressing opinions. However, a group believes that it is sometimes necessary as well as justified for the government to restrict freedom of speech. Do you agree?
• The real character and test of every act is based on the circumstances in which it is performed. So, it is justified to restrict freedom of speech as and when required.
• Restrictions on freedom of speech are like stopping a kid from getting involved into wrong doings. Spreading false beliefs and offensive ideas through any medium creates a danger of harming to others.
• There is always a need to protect minors from exposure to offensive, obscene or potentially damaging materials.
• The Government has the responsibility to protect its citizens from internal as well as foreign enemies. Thus, freedom of speech can be acceptably restricted during turbulent times in order to prevent problems.
• Speech acts prompt physical acts. Thus political polemic, pornography and hate speech are causally linked to insurrection, rape and hate crimes and need to be stopped.
• The freedom of speech is a right but every right comes with a responsibility. When people want rights but do not want to exercise them with responsibility, the government has to take over.
• Free speech is not just a law; it is a mechanism which results in real, tangible benefits to society by permitting people to challenge orthodox concepts.
• Placing restrictions on free speech in ‘special cases’ kills the whole point as it is exactly those special cases where established and traditional truth needs to be challenged.
• Real science relies for its development on continual challenges to the existing state of always-imperfect knowledge.
• Whatever the possible problems may arise from unrepressed free speech; they are less than in comparison to the severity of issues that results from restricting an individual from free expression.
• The end results cannot always justify the measures. The government may well intend to restrict publication of information that would be harmful to its success in the next elections, but it is in the interest of people to stay informed about their dirty objectives or illegal activities.
• Secrecy in the name of security results in injustice. Also, society is self-regulating and any link between physical acts and speech acts is a false one.
It is not necessary that people who commit hate crimes have read hate speech, or individuals who commit sex crimes have definitely watched pornography. It is not essentially the other way around. The debate clearly leads to a slippery note.
It is one matter to regulate speech on matters that are objectively verifiable and another matter to ban the permissible scope of expression and opinion. The line is very thin, and in any case it needs to be protected.
- RE: Sometimes it is necessary and justified for government to restrict freedom of speech -Deepa Kaushik (03/28/15)
- The freedom of speech should be in a way that it should not offend others. We have been blessed with the fundamental rights to enjoy, but these rights should be excised in a way that doesn’t harm or annoy others or prevent them enjoying their rights and freedom. The freedom of speech and expression also follow the same theme.
We often forget the limitations and verge in the flow of words. And when the same comes to our expression on the social media or similar platform under the trap of technology, the issue becomes quite serious. The words definitely require some restrictions in the flow of thoughts. The section 66a had been framed under this very note to have a restriction in the flow of words and expression, which had been removed by the Supreme Court to guide the interest of few innocent people fallen into the trap of this ill-established section.
Though the removal of the section is a great sigh of relief for those innocent sufferers, yet on a large scale, the scrapping down of this section as whole is far more risky. We definitely need to have some restrictions in our language, speech, expression, in order to protect the rights of the others as well. This could be possible only under the cover of a rule and regulation which could align the language in the expression of the words. We should have a well-defined section in our constitution that could define the offensive words in the language use which should be punishable and at the same time protect the innocent common man from the trap of high-profile people.