Student in Electronical Engineering, SJCE Mysore

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Which should prevail when there is a conflict of interest between Freedom of speech and Censorship by the government?

what should be the balancing act when govt infringes on individual rights? How , we as a society, should respond for collective action.?

  • Feb 27 2013: I think it is important to look at intent of the government and the individual.

    As many here pointed out, if your intent is to entice violence then you should not be granted a freedom of speech. You should also not be free to speak about private matters of an individual or attack person's physical or mental look/abilities.

    On other hand, we should all be free to criticize individual and government actions and ideologies. There is still common belief that some ideologies should not be criticized. Without ability to freely criticize we don't have ability to fight corruption, dictatorships and other forms of oppression (political and/or religious).
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    Feb 27 2013: Good Question as this right or law is becoming more common around the world. I like the way it is done it the U.S. (not saying we do not need work) Freedom of speech is protected up until it can physically harm others and within limits of financial harm where the speech is a lie. Examples of physical harm would be yelling "fire" in a crowded room, That is illegal. It falls under inciting to riot. (which causes physical harm) Verbal assault is another example, which is illegal. Then we have slander and liable which have been fairly well defined over the last 100+ years. I tend to agree with that.

    I believe the U.S. needs work where religion interferes with these laws. At the moment religion free speech is more powerful than standard free speech. Point in case was when a child wore a shirt to school that was antisemitism and anti Islam (to the point of being hate and cruel) If it had been anti black, or anti gay the child would have been expelled or suspended and rightfully forced to leave or remove the shirt. BUT, since it was religion then he was allowed.

    That is our current law and I see a need to change that aspect, mostly as it falls under the "everyone is equal, but some are more equal" I see no reason to give religions a "get out of jail free card" when it comes to interfering with the freedom of speech
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    Feb 27 2013: It is in the nature of balancing acts that the matter needs to be judged case by case. The word censorship carries a heavy negative connotation and freedom of speech a very positive one, so sometimes these labels are invoked in a way that obscures the important details of a situation.

    For example, preventing someone from expressing a point of view in public on a government policy is, perhaps, different from preventing someone from unveiling other people's private information that they have chosen not to share..
    • Feb 27 2013: The demarcation becomes obscure when there is an intrusion on other's rights. i would like to quote incident that ended up in the arrest of two girls on account of their FACEBOOK post. I consider that as a opinion rather than hate speech. It should be noticed that even the Chairman, Press Council of India criticized the act. But the saga still continues.
  • Feb 27 2013: I suppose the point is what you understand under freedom of speech. Negotionism or the denial of the holocaust is forbidden to have as an opinion is most countries. Yet if we strife towards total freedom of speech we should allow people to have this opinion.
    Personally, freedom of speech is important to me. Only through open, honest communication we can reach a better understanding of eachother. I agree with TED lover that the value tied to freedom of speech is tied to the culture. The problem is that freedom of speech does not necessarily have to be bound by law to be forbidden. I have seen it more then enough: even in 'democratic' societies the general trend is that 'if you are not with us, you are against us'. This means that when a group, or society in general, is confronted with an opinion that is different then their own they will sometimes respond with a certain agression towards the origin of that opinion. They will either 'attack' it or they will deny it.
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    Gail .

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    Feb 27 2013: The answer to your question depends entirely on the culture in question. If your culture is a bunch of sheeple, all dependent on government or religious leaders to think for them, then that culture will prefer censorship over freedom of speech. The more afraid a people are, the more they seem to like censorship.

    I personally believe that the truth shall set us free, and that censorship is the act of hiding truth.
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      Feb 27 2013: Where do you lie on the Freedom of speech/right to privacy debate?
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        Gail .

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        Feb 28 2013: As I said, the truth shall set us free (whether we want to be set free or not). I am always for free speech. Anything less than that is slavery. Of course, I heartily support SELF-censorship when the situation calls for it.
  • Feb 28 2013: Freedom. always.
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    Feb 28 2013: you can't have the good without the bad. it's as simple as that.

    if you want freedom of speech, then you must be prepared to exercise your right to not listen from time to time (and for others to do the same).
  • Feb 27 2013: What conflict do you have in mind? Maybe more details from you would help us to see your question basis better.

    Freedom of speech, used wisely, will add good to humankind. Used ignorantly and unkindly it adds anger or major disrespect. Sometimes its better to not speak an opinion, but to ask more questions.

    The right questions offered at just the right time in the right way to help others think of beneficial possibilities for change may be more powerful than yelling into a microphone! Would Gandhi come to mind for your question?
    • Feb 27 2013: Certainly Gandhi would have deplored the prevailing condition in India. I would like to point out that being a democracy for over 65 years, we are still burdened with archaic laws that really dont fit to present circumstances. From the cultural perspective as pointed out, we are a liberal society where there is a respect for different opinions. Plz read my article in my blog http://kittiputti.blogspot.in/. Further discussion will be greeted.