Monday, August 4, 2014

Free speech confused.

By Abigail Clarke: Contributing Content Blogger 

If there is one thing that boils me it's people using the argument of free speech to justify the behaviours of cyber haters attacking others with their hate. This is offensive to any victim and I've no issue saying it's an outright stupid thing to say. Even though many countries do not have the right to free speech embedded in their constitutions, the concept is still pulled out of the bag by cyber attackers everywhere regardless of country. These people feel completely justified jabbing and ripping at others through the internet unbelievably feeling they have the right to do so.  If confronted, these people claim the right to freely say what they like as if there is an implicit right to free speech everywhere, but more than that they equate a right to free speech as an open license to harm others to the extent of death. 

Right of free speech is one of the most bastardised and contorted justifications used on the internet today. Younger generations are misunderstanding the original intent of the concept. In the United States, right to free speech was a protection put in place to allow citizens to openly criticise the government without retaliation. It has now somehow morphed into individuals thinking they have the right to wield abusive and hateful cyber attacks on whomever they choose for whatever reason they deem appropriate. This is not restricted to just within the United States. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. Several countries such as in Africa, India, Australia, and many others, have specific free speech laws extended to their citizens. This ingrained misconception of free speech has become a universal standard by which cyber harassment is condoned worldwide. 

The right of free speech and the freedom to attack others with hateful poisonous language, need to be distinguished from one another and then enforceable laws in place to prevent the damaging effects of online hate attacks.