Freedom of Speech

Topics: Human rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Democracy Pages: 2 (616 words) Published: September 16, 2011
Freedom of Speech
Under the Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to freedom of speech is accepted and approved as a human right.
“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.”

According to Oxford Dictionary, “freedom of speech” means the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint. Generally, it is understood as a freedom to express any views entirely and completely. This includes the production and publication of movies, photos, songs, books and other forms of expressive information.

Besides, freedom of speech is also commonly considered as an indispensable modern concept of democracy. With this concept, the Government's review should not be considered. However, some countries still punish the people who give out the negative expression which may influence the harmony of a country, such as inciting rebellion obviously, defamation, leaking of national security secrets and so on. North Korea is an obvious example. The citizen will be arrested and consigned to “re-education” camp if he or she makes statements about criticism of the North Korea’s government and its leaders.

However, Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French political thinker and historian, stated that people still have concerned about freedom of speech. It may not because of fears towards the Government’s punishment, but because of social pressure. When a person expresses an opinion which is not accepted by their community, he or she may faces the disdain and contempt from them, or even subjected to violent action.

In conclusion, the definition of “freedom of speech” differs from one country to another. It is because freedom of speech is not absolutely practiced in any country. For example, in Malaysia, the definition is the right to express any views without...
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