Discourse of freedom of speech



When someone talks about freedom, it means he or she is very much curious about his or her rights. Freedom can also be translated in terms of power and how much a person enjoys power. In contemporary scenario we are living in nation state era in which the rights and powers of a person are purely accredited and set by the state. Thomas Hobbes defined state as a “Leviathan”, more precisely we can say that nothing is above than the state. State has its imaginary limits and these limits also exercised over the practice of freedom and states always have strong check over the social, political and economic activities of the citizens. At social level freedom always considered as the sign of modern and growing societies but it is always discouraged the freedom at the expense of someone’s basic rights, for instance, in a plural society everyone has a right to have their own beliefs and understandings regarding any social, religious and political matter and it is the moral and social responsibility of the fellow citizen to give respect to the other’s ideas and point of views. There are different aspects of freedom in a state and if we look towards them we will get to know that freedom of speech is the most basic right of an individual after having living, food and shelter’s rights.

Freedom of speech gives people the right to put forward their own ideas and thought regarding people, communities or what so ever happening around them in society. Article 10 of human rights accredited guarantee to the rights to freedom of speech to everyone. Even in Pakistan under article 19, the citizens of the state are given the right of freedom of speech which is also supported by the religion, Islam. But, even in Islam freedom of speech has certain limit that does not violate the rights of other citizens or offend them. Freedom of speech must be bounded by certain limits which accommodates the existence and beliefs of other human beings.  In France, recently, a newspaper published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad which instigated uproar by the Muslim community, as religious sentiments of Muslims all over the world were deeply hurt. Instead of condemning the horrendous act of disrespecting Muslim sentiments, President Macron called publisher a hero and showed willingness to his act by rewarding the guy with legion award, the highest civilian award. All this was done in the name of freedom of speech which has deeply offended the religious sentiments of Muslims all over the world. Such disrespect acts deeply bleed the hearts of the religious and pious Muslims of the globe. Not only this, even in Pakistan, we witnessed huge rallies against our Shia community calling them “kafirs” in the name of freedom of speech. This kind of religiously motivated propagandas hurt the religious sentiments of various sects of Islam that should never be subjected to hate in the name of freedom. The clerics misuse and even it is better to say that they overuse the right of freedom of speech and actually they want to propagate their own specific and funded (sometimes), agendas, based on violence, in the cover of symbolic language. We, in Pakistan, are even witnessing hate towards other minority groups present, such as, Ahmedis in the name of freedom of speech. If we look in larger realm then it is much according to the constitution of Pakistan that all the sects and minorities have rights and free to keep their ideologies. Freedom of speech in term of religion must have certain limitations as it can hurts the sentiments of people as religion is close to everyone’s heart.

In contemporary world media is considered as the fifth pillar of the state, which acts as watch dog in the state. Free media is responsible to highlight the real issues of the society in order to maintain the law and order situation in the state. If we look towards the Pakistani media then it will be unveiled that the media is not given the right of freedom of speech. Government has a strong control over what media can on-air. If we look at the news channels, certain restriction are placed over on-airing speeches of opponents, even the talk shows are not allowed to display content they want to for example motor way incident, government placed a restriction on its discussion. Other than that many journalist are abducted, and it is becoming a practice, and sometimes even killed if they speak against the concerned authorities.  Media must be given right to choose their content and give analytic reviews regarding the situations and even the politics regardless of who is in power. This will allows people to think best for them and even for the country.

Politian’s take the freedom of speech for granted. Now a days, Politian speak absurd about each other, make fake claims, character assassination in name the of leg-pulling is done, which is totally not acceptable as it defame a person, their reputation is at risk as well as it manipulates common people. Politian must refrain from it as it is against moral ethics.

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