Free speech

"Free speech" isn't so free when it costs you your liberty. In countries around the world, the right to express one's thoughts and beliefs is under assault.

—Amnesty International[1]

Free speech, or freedom of speech, is a human right as defined by the UN[2] as well as a right more broadly that is granted to citizens by their government. Free speech is defined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as:

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.[2]

Regardless of the clarity of the above declaration, there are many misconceptions surrounding free speech, especially online, and especially when defending hate speech or breeches of privacy.

Around the world

While many inhabitants of the West have the right to free speech, many countries around the world do not uphold this human right.

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2013 Freedom of the Press Classifications[wp][3]

Free speech argument

See the main article on this topic: Free speech argument

Free speech is often used to derail. Often stylized as "freeze peach", also known as the free speech fallacy; it is an attempt at silencing and derailing. The fallacy is based on equivocating the right to free speech, free expression, and a free press with the (non-legally protected) right to a platform.[4] It may also take the form of invoking Orwell or crying "censorship".

See also

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References