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
For us, freedom of speech implies freedom of expression. It's at the essence of
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
Military censorship: the confidentiality and removal of military intelligence and
Political censorship: The decision of the government to retain information from
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
WHAT DOES ARTISTIC FREEDOM INCLUDE?
UNESCO describes it as the following bundle of rights protected under
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
Whenever a court considers a case involving freedom of speech, there are two
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.
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