Freedom of Speech obviously shouldn’t have a limit, because then, how is it freedom if we there is a limit? Of course, you can’t say something that is against the law, such as “To incite actions that would harm others,” “To make or distribute obscene materials,” and etc. (1). Those things have been stated clearly by court cases in the past, at least in the United States. It’s true that it’s different depending on which countries you live in. For instance, in 16 European countries and Canada, denying holocaust is illegal (2). Personally, I think that it’s so interesting that some people keep denying historical event like the holocaust. Are those people trying to justify the Nazi? Another instance that I think is really interesting is in Thailand. People are not allowed to insult the royal family in any ways. Honestly, I, as a Thai, respect the royal family more than I can express my feelings in words. I don’t expect other people to understand this Thai law because this law is something that is so unique about Thailand.
Going back to the freedom of speech, what if it’s offensive to other people? For instance, the Charlie Hebdo weekly magazine has been publishing a lot of offensive cartoons targeting everything that they think is not right.
The first cover was released in 2013 in supporting the same-sex marriage, criticizing Christianity (4).
The second cover was released in 2013, saying “ The Koran is **** – It does not stop bullets.” (4)
The third one was released in 2010 when France passed a controversial law that prevented people from wearing face-covering headgear such as burqa (a long loose garment worn by Muslim women) in public places (4).
There is no doubt that Charlie Hebdo has been offensive to everyone. However, is it okay to be this offensive to people? Is it okay to just insult other people when you disagree with something? Should it be legal for people to be this mean to each other? Before everyone thinks that I agree with the shooting, I have to say that I strongly disagree with violence in any kind. I also believe that a lot of people, who may disagree with the Charlie Hebdo, disagree even stronger with the act of terrorism. Going back to those offensive covers, I personally can’t believe that some magazine would publish something like that, but then something strike me. Isn’t that just another opinion from a group of people? Isn’t that what we, citizen of this world, should be doing? Isn’t that an act of a group of active citizen? I then realize that this is what this world is needed, especially in the place where people are being suppressed in any form, physically, mentally and intellectually. This is just another form of expressing one’s opinion and information.
Then, what comes after freedom of speech? I feel like people don’t usually say this, but I think freedom of speech along with this are two of the most essential core of American identity. It is freedom of information. Freedom of information will never happen if freedom of speech is limited. Furthermore, freedom of information is actually needed in a process of finding one’s values. People should be able to access everything, every ideas, every perspective, and then study each thing closely. Finally, it’s time for people to make up their minds. What do you believe? What you have believed for your entire life might be wrong just because you haven’t received a “truer” piece of information. I think this is so essential to education. Education should be where kids explore the world, and make up their own minds.
P.S. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. I’m sorry if some of the context are too offensive. I just think that this will help to get my point across better. SORRY!