Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the liberty of an individual or community to share their opinions and concepts without the fear of retaliation, censorship and legal sanction. Freedom of speech includes any activity of seeking, receiving and spreading information or ideas without informing the medium used.

According to Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It includes seeking, receiving and imparting information through media.

Freedom of speech may not be recognised as being absolute, relate to libel, slander, copyright violation, etc. According to John Stuart Mill, the sole purpose for which power can be often exercised over any member against his will, is to stop harm to others.

With the rise in digital age, freedom of speech becomes more controversial due to new means of communication. For example, Golden Shield Project, an initiative by Chinese government’s Ministry of Public Security that removes potentially unfavourable data from foreign countries.

Freedom of speech emerged in the late 6th or early 5th century BC and originated from the values of Roman Republic. Edward Coke described freedom of speech as ‘an ancient custom of Parliament’.

World’s first freedom of the press acts was in Sweden in 1766 due to the classical liberal member of Parliament.
Article 11 of French Declaration states that free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the foremost precious rights of man.
Freedom of speech has many aspects:
Right to seek information and ideas.
Right to receive information and ideas.
Right to impart information and ideas.

Right to freedom of speech and right to freedom of expression are closely related to each other which limit the search for information, or determine the opportunity. Freedom of press doesn’t enable freedom of speech. Freedom of press is guaranteed only to those that own one.
Freedom of speech is fundamental in democracy. It means that public debate may not be completely suppressed even in times of emergency.

Limitations of freedom of speech:
Some limitations to freedom of speech may occur through legal sanction and others may occur through social disapprobation.

Harmful and offensive content: It includes speech which is both false and dangerous. Justice for limitations to freedom of speech is referred to as ‘harm principle’ or ‘offence principle’.
Time, place and manner: It applies to all kinds of speeches irrespective of their views. They are restrictions which balance rights or legitimate government interest.

The internet and information society: Internet has been a starting for censorship. International, national and regional standards defines freedom of speech as one of the freedom of expression and can be applied to any medium, including internet. Internet is more speech enhancing medium rather than print, or mails. Speech of the web are often unfiltered, unpolished and unconventional in many communities. Communication is a social process, basic human need and foundation of social organisations. It is a centre to Information Society.

Freedom of information: It is an extension of freedom of speech where the medium is internet.
Internet censorship: It controls the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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