Free Speech and Verbal Abuse

The freedom of speech is the political right for one to communicate their opinions and ideas. Seems simple enough right? Right, except so many people have the wrong idea. We’ve all seen it. We’re on YouTube watching a music video of our favourite band and for some reason we decide to take a look at the comment section (never a wise move). Someone has posted a comment insulting the band or the genre of music in the video and now everybody else is mad. It’s the main reason I usually avoid reading the comments as there is always some big fight between two members (or more) and each one is as stubborn as the other. In these arguments there is no winner.

Look everyone is entitled to their opinion even if it’s stupid. You shouldn’t apologise for giving your opinion. However if you are rude or aggressive in the way you express it then you should apologise for it. Also free speech has been used as an excuse for people to be verbally abusive towards others and I don’t think that that’s okay either. Of course this has been debated before. I know if someone says or writes something offensive we can just ignore it but sometimes we can’t. It seems as though a lot of people are using their right to free speech to spread hate and not use it spread awareness.

Lets look back to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Charlie Hebdo was a satirical magazine. Satire can often be taken the wrong way. In the case of the Charlie Hebdo massacre it was taken very much the wrong way. It caused a group of armed men to attack the magazine’s headquarters. These gunmen were Muslims, the magazine had printed a joke about Muhammad and they didn’t like it. Now its well-known that Muslim extremists don’t like anything that makes fun of Muhammad. It’s a big risk to make a joke about him and jokes can always backfire. This one backfired big time. Charlie Hebdo didn’t deserve this attack, they mean no harm in what they write. There are so many people who do mean harm in what they say or write. They are the ones who abuse their freedom of speech.

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