What is freedom of expression? The bizarre non-sense about it.
What is freedom of expression? Do we have freedom of expression in our country? If yes, then what is the limit to our freedom of expression?
You have complete freedom of expression if you can tell your father, “You are a big idiot” if he makes a small mistake. Your daughter has complete freedom of expression if she can tell you, “You are a terrorist!” when you forget to bring a glass of water for her. This is the highest freedom of expression. Would you like to get this level of freedom of expression? Or do you want the people around you to have such a kind of freedom of expression?
Freedom of expression according to me is the right to express our opinion with an objective analysis without any intention to hurt or malign anybody. It should not be a personal attack but some kind of opinion about some process or system. It can be positive or it can be negative, that does not matter, But it should not be something that triggers sentiments and emotions in people.
The ideal person who used his FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION in a proper way was the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi. He did not make direct attacks on the Britishers, but he inspired the countrymen and explained to them that freedom was their birthright. His protest was non-violent without any intention to gain publicity or any profit. He opposed the processes and methods of English men. He did not name people and made direct attacks on these people.
People these days make some controversial statement and their statements are highlighted in the media. They gain followers on twitter and they become popular and make money due to the recognition they suddenly get.
There are different methods that people use to get attention. One of them is to make a direct attack on some person who is very popular and is respected by everybody. At times people even make statements they know are incorrect and they know that they will be criticized for that. But later on, they apologize but they have already come into the limelight and have got the desired attention. When people question them about these, they speak the monotonous language and claim that they have FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.
Media has a big role to play in any country. It is due to the pressure exerted by media that people maintain their limits otherwise they know that the media will expose them. But even the level of media has deteriorated very much in the last few years. To increase their number of viewers they make direct attacks on people and sensationalize the issues which otherwise could be spoken objectively.
So let us analyze how much freedom of expression we have in society. If we are not pressurized when we express our opinion, if we have the freedom to oppose the policies of the government, if we can go to the government officials and frankly give our opinion, we should feel safe that we have got enough FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. If we have the power to choose our government without being pressurized to vote for somebody, we are free. If I can write a blog criticizing the policies of the government or the Prime Minister and I am not scared, it means I am FREE.
So we are very lucky and fortunate that we have got an ample amount of FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. If people violate the norms for FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, are they punishable? That is the biggest headache for any government. You can never set the boundaries for FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. To pressurize the people and take action on them for using indecent language is never going to work.
The only method I can think of is to inculcate values of respect and dignity in children right from when they are young. People should also understand that if they speak ill of somebody other people will do the same for them. They should also understand that even if they come into limelight by sensationalizing something, gradually people will understand their thinking and then will lose the love and respect of people over a period of time.