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FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN THEATRE

Updated: May 16, 2021



WHAT IS FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

Freedom of speech is the right, by all means, to search, obtain and exchange

knowledge and ideas of all kinds.

Freedom of speech and the right to freedom of expression applies to opinions of

all sorts, even those that could be profoundly insulting. But it comes with

constraints, which can be legitimately restricted.

The idea of a free society is that all individuals have the freedom to choose what

the art or content that they want or not. When you authorize the government to

censor someone else, you cede to it the the power to censor you, or something

you desire. Censorship is like poison gas: a potent device that can hurt you as the

wind shifts.

For us, freedom of speech implies freedom of expression. It's at the essence of

modern society.

Sexuality is the most popular object of censorship in art and culture. There are

several examples. A painting on Venus de Milo was removed from a store because

the managers of the shopping mall found its semi-nudity "too shocking."

In general, American law is the most speech-protective law in the world – but

sexual expression is treated as a second-class citizen.

After demonstrations by Sikhs outside the Birmingham Rep in 2004 and canceling

Homegrown by the National Youth Theater 2015, a play about radicalizing young

Muslims, the cancelation of both the Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's Behzti is evidence that

theater can always be cowardly about protests or fear the falling foul of

government counter terrorist tactics such as Prevent.




WHAT IS CENSORSHIP?

The suppression or prohibition of any portion of books, films, news, etc. that is

considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

There are various forms of censorship, these include:

Moral censorship: removal of obscene or otherwise morally questionable

artifacts.

Military censorship: the confidentiality and removal of military intelligence and

tactics.

Political censorship: The decision of the government to retain information from

its people.

Religious Censorship: means by which a religious group or organisation

removes any material believed to be objectionable.

Corporate censorship: The process in which corporate media editors interfere

in order to withhold the publishers if they portray their corporation in a

negative form.


WHAT DOES ARTISTIC FREEDOM INCLUDE?

UNESCO describes it as the following bundle of rights protected under

international law:

the right to create without censorship or intimidation

the right to have artistic work supported, distributed, remunerated

the right to freedom of movement

the right to freedom of association

the right to protection of social and economic rights

the right to participate in cultural life


The Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment's protection of artistic

expression very broadly. It does not only cover novels, works of theater and

paintings, but the human artistic impetus can create posters, TV, music-videos or

comedy books.

Whenever a court considers a case involving freedom of speech, there are two

fundamental principles.

Firstly, "content neutrality" since every viewer or even majority of the population is

offended by its contents, the government cannot limit expression. This means

tolerating works that may be offensive, derogatory or ludicrous in the sense of art

and literature — or plainly terrible.

The second is that speech should only be prohibited if it evidently harms a

significant societal concern explicitly and imminently. The classic example is

falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater and causing a stampede. Even,

then speech should only be censored if it cannot be stopped otherwise.

The Helsinki Declaration on Promoting Diversity of Cultural Expressions

and Artistic Freedom in a Digital Age, Nordic Ministers of Culture 2016 quoted

"Attacks on the freedom of (cultural)

expression from intolerant individuals

and groups, hate-speech, racism, and xenophobia

among others denote the denial of one

of the fundamental prerequisites of democracy;

the right of everyone to participate in debate

as free and equal individuals."




RESULTS OF THE STUDIES

There is significant debate on studies of the relationship between media violence

and actual violence. Children were tested for "aggressive" behaviour with TV

programmes that conducted violent episodes in a laboratory setting. Some of

these studies say that watching TV violence may temporarily induce "object

incidents" in some children, such as popping or hitting dolls or playing more

aggressively, but not real criminal violence against someone else.

Even from centuries ago, violent and sexually explicit art and entertainment were

an essential part of the human societies. Many human behavioralists think that

these topics serve as a valuable and constructive outlet of individual retaliation.


CONCLUSION

Art and freedom of speech are vital aspects of every healthy society, and sacred

human jewels. Our concern for human rights in any country should include the

freedom of artists to express their hearts. Persecution of artists must be

understood and appreciated as political rather than as a facet of faith: as acts of

violence against dissidents, differing from more overt political activism only in the

method of expression; methods that are as ancient as history and profoundly

ingrained in any society and tradition that has driven, motivated and united people

for centuries.