FREEDOM OF SPEECH V. CENSORSHIP

Freedom of speech is described as the freedom to express opinions and ideas without limitations or hindrances. Its one’s liberty to speak without being censored or limited. Freedom of expression which is a synonym of freedom of speech, is used to describe not only one’s liberty to verbal speech but also freedom of any act of receiving or sending information or opinions, without considering the medium of communication used. Practically, this right to freedom of speech is not clearly explained in many countries and therefore it’s usually subject to limitations by some forms of government.


The right to freedom of speech or freedom of expression is recognized in UDHR (universal declaration of human rights), as a human right. It’s also recognized in the ICCPR (international covenant on civil and political rights), where it’s defined as “the right to hold opinions without interference” (vile 2007). Everyone in the world is entitled to the right of expressing him/her freely. Freedom of speech is recognized by many human right organizations in Africa, Europe and America. The modern idea of freedom of speech came up slowly during the European.enlightenment though the concept is also found in human right documents of the early man. The 1689 bill of rights in England allowed freedom of speech in parliament while the rights of citizen and man declaration which came up during the French revolution of 1789, particularly acknowledged the freedom of speech as an inalienable human right (Finn 2008 37).

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or “inconvenient.” Censorship can be conducted by governments, privet institutions and other controlling bodies.

Example of censorship:
General censorship occurs in a variety of different media, including speech, books, music, films and other arts, press, radio, television and internet for a variety of claimed reasons including national security, to control obscenity, child pornography and hate speech, to protect children or other vulnerable.


Freedom of speech defined in Constitution in the Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India states that, “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”. The philosophy behind this Article lies in the Preamble of the Constitution, where a solemn resolve is made to secure to all its citizen, liberty of thought and expression. The Constitution of India provides the right of freedom, given in article 19 with the view of guaranteeing individual rights that were considered vital by the framers of the constitution. The right to freedom in Article 19 guarantees the freedom of speech and expression, as one of its six freedoms. The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that: “Congress shall make no law… abridging freedom of speech.”

Freedom of speech and censorship understanding media and culture:
To fully understand the issues of censorship and freedom of speech and how they apply to modern media, we must first explore the term themselves. Censorship is defined as suppressing or removing anything deemed objectionable A common, everyday example can be found on the radio or television, where potentially offensive words are “bleeped” out. More controversial is censorship at a political or religious level. If you’ve ever been banned from reading a book in school, or watched a “clean” version of a movie on an airplane, you’ve experienced censorship.
Much as media legislation can be controversial due to First Amendment protections, censorship in the media is often hotly debated. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law…ab ridging the freedom of speech, or of the press (Case Summaries).” Under this definition, the term “speech” extends to a broader sense of “expression,” meaning verbal, nonverbal, visual, or symbolic expression. Historically, many individuals have cited the First Amendment when protesting FCC decisions to censor certain media products or programs. However, what many people do not realize is that U.S. law establishes several exceptions to free speech, including defamation, hate speech, breach of the peace, incitement to crime, sedition, and obscenity.

How it affects internet and media:
• The internet has reduced barriers to communication. It is a great enable of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. This needs to be protected for everyone.

• Censorship today is carried out by a whole host of persons and entitles beyond the bounds of law. People should strongly oppose any illegal censorship by government and non-state actors on the internet.

• Internet shutdowns are extraordinary measures which are used by repressive, authoritarian regimes to limit flows of information. Even in times of public disorder they lead to censorship of content that is otherwise legal and can be used to calm and assure large number of people.

• Censorship on internet also not only limits the accessibility of information but also limits the freedom of speech.

• It could also lessen the impact of identity theft.

• It also provide positive impact on national society.

• The Indian legal system contains a number of provisions which limit free expression. Some like, the erstwhile section 66A- are laws specifically made to censor online censorship.

• There are several other laws which criminalise speech. Many such laws are inconsistent with the universal declaration of human rights, the international convent on civil and political rights, and reports of the special rapporteur on free expression and several other sources of human rights laws which bind India. Our hate speech laws, the penal provisions for defaming requires urgent reforms.

• New laws create the potential for intermediary liability which can chill free speech and expression. Such laws also lead to pro-active takedowns and content filtering

• Censorship on media may suppress the voice of common people.

• Sometimes media censorship is necessary for national security purpose.

• Although popular memory thinks of old black-and-white movies as tame or sanitized, many early filmmakers filled their movies with sexual or violent content. Edwin S. Porter’s 1903 silent film The Great Train Robbery, for example, is known for expressing “the appealing, deeply embedded nature of violence in the frontier experience and the American civilizing process,” and showcases “the rather spontaneous way that the attendant violence appears in the earliest developments of cinema (Film Reference).” The film ends with an image of a gunman firing a revolver directly at the camera, demonstrating that cinema’s fascination with violence was present even 100 years ago.

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 adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

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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