The Importance of Freedom of Speech as a Basic Human Right

Photo by Aditya Saxena on Unsplash

In a world where the rich get richer, and the ones with power perpetually keep growing in power, it becomes of paramount importance to nurture a society where the right to speak unbarred and express one’s views and opinions without fear is not only a basic human right, but is ingrained into the very fabric of its culture. Freedom of speech & expression not only help honor the principles of equality and sovereignty in society, but help maintain dignity of the individual at a personal level as well.

A quick look at history as well as modern society testifies to the importance of freedom of speech in many ways. As history stands witness, the absence of freedom of speech often culminates in the abuse of power, eventually leading to mass destruction and violation of human rights, such as the oppression of masses in the name of race, creed, sex or religion. However, in the end it is the assertion of rekindled forms of speech and expression that have enabled revolutions in history leading to the abolition of atrocities such as slavery and the attainment of independence in many countries dominated by colonial rule for centuries.

Not only in a cultural setting, but in domestic settings as well the lack of freedom of speech and expression has been a major factor in camouflaging the oppression and abuse of women in various countries and cultures, robbing them of their right to speak or revolt against their likes of desires. Exercising this basic right in its true form can enable women or men who are victims of domestic violence or physical or mental abuse to be empowered to speak out, instead of being oppressed in the name of superiority.

Such instances are indeed symbolic of both the power as well as the deterioration that the presence or absence of freedom of speech or expression can bring. Unless we are willing to live in a world similar to the one depicted in George Orwell’s renowned and ironically significant classic 1984, it is invariably of supreme importance that freedom of speech and expression be practiced, cultivated and maintained as a basic human right for all.

However, considering the many facets of human nature, an excessive or unchecked exercising of any freedom could lead to misuse, and should not be encouraged. Specifically in today’s day and age where opinions are plentiful and the mediums to share and instigate such opinions are abundant, it is of notable importance to observe a basic sense of decorum and prudence, so that freedom of one does not become an affliction for another. Keeping in mind that with power comes responsibility, it is the duty of us all to keep a balanced perspective while exercising such freedom.

In conclusion, in a increasingly opinionated world eager to express and be heard, it is as important to listen as it is to speak — to be compassionate and responsible. However, under no circumstance should freedom of speech be curbed, since that would only dismantle the very fragments of individualism and morality from society.

Note: Sometimes when I feel driven by my love for writing, I would pick up random topics and pen down my own take on it in my cherished notebook — typically in the form of short essays on predominantly argumentative or informative topics. This is the first of such writings that I am sharing on my blog. Hope you enjoy reading it!