How Free Is Freedom of Speech

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Loza
Words 1282
Pages 6
How Free Is ‘Free Speech’ When Society Disagrees?
Free speech is a complicated issue, not just in the United States, but in many other countries as well. Unfortunately the freedom of speech is not as simple as saying anything at any time. While by law, everyone in the United States is entitled to the freedom to speak their minds, social expectations and mainstream culture restrict what people are able to say. However, as society has progressed many social changes have been made by people who have refused to be silenced by mainstream culture. Movements such as the Civil Rights Movement and the LBGTQ movement have been started by people who have fully used their rights to free speech. This means that people are free to speak their minds, however, mainstream society often restricts what they can say.

The First Amendment states that: ‘Congress shall make no law… prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…’ (Amend 1) This segment of the constitution clearly states that by law every United States Citizen is entitled to free speech by the government. Meaning that the government cannot prosecute anyone for expressing their opinions. However, like every law exceptions are made to protect citizens. This encompasses all acts that are governed by other laws, such as slander and incitement to violence or rebellion. By having the government restricting only harmful or suppressive speech those wishing to express their opinions in non-threatening ways are able to do so. Allowing innocent minorities or groups to be protected from verbal attacks, or the media embellishing stories to paint a group in a negative light. This part of the amendment is very important and does not impact citizen’s right to freely express their ideas, even if those ideas don’t mirror mainstream society. Censorship is often a sensitive subject when…...

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