Free speech refers to the act of communicating without the fear of intimidation from any person, group, or government agencies. The advancements in technology have in the recent past led to the promotion of free speech as people could communicate using the various telecommunication gadgets from any location (Sanneh, 2015). The US has established a myriad of legislations that provides its citizens with the freedom to speak responsibly in public. However, some people misuse free speech forcing the government and other agencies to monitor and attempt to silence it (Bedi et al., 2015). This paper discusses in detail the reasons for silencing free speech in the US.
The inappropriate use of speech has been the primary reason for the rapid attempts to silence freedom of expression. The basic reasoning behind the silencing of free speech is that it threatens peace (Sanneh, 2015). Most government agencies believe that free speech can stimulate a case of lawlessness in the country thereby causing chaos. Consequently, the only lawful means of maintaining peace while suppressing verbally-motivated chaos is to silence free speech.
The silencing of free speech is due to the rampant cyberbullying witnessed in the various social media and internet platforms (Bernstein, 2016). Freedom of expression has given various individuals the audacity to manipulate other users of telecommunication platforms and exploit them (Eberstadt, 2015). The current cyberspace has greatly contributed to the rot in the society. In the bid to minimize cyberbullying, the government has in the recent past been keen in imposing soft censorship as a means of silencing free speech in the cyberspace.
The fear of correction and criticism has also been a key reason for the silencing of free speech in various organizations. Some senior government officials such as the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had to back out of giving speeches due to the presence of online mobs (Eberstadt, 2015). In the bid to protect its image, the government, through its agencies has strived to silence free speech by denying some citizens the opportunities to question its operations. Consequently, the public remains mute on issues that affect them. The activists who fight for human rights are rendered speechless and with no support as free speech has been silenced.
The vulnerability of children has on various occasions been used to silence free speech or infringe on this fundamental freedom. The various proposers of the act of silencing free speech have cited that most children who are underage are being exposed to mature content and introduced the issue of censorship (Bernstein, 2016). However, there is no justification for the infringement of hate speech basing on the vulnerability of children. Parents should be responsible for what their children consume and advise their young ones on the credibility of internet pitches. Parents should also adopt software that will block hate speech and prevent their children from accessing unwanted content.
In conclusion, the move by the government to silence free speech has both positive and negative repercussions to the citizens. Some underlying reasons for silencing free speech include to protect children from accessing unwanted content, to prevent cyberbullying, to avoid criticism, and to enhance peace. The control of content that children access should justify the infringement of freedom that is enshrined in the constitution. The government and other agencies responsible for silencing free speech should find means of eradicating the problems associated with this freedom rather than to infringe on this right.
Bedi, G., Carrillo, F., Cecchi, G. A., Slezak, D. F., Sigman, M., Mota, N. B., … & Corcoran, C. M. (2015). Automated analysis of free speech predicts psychosis onset in high-risk youths. npj Schizophrenia, 1, 15030.
Bernstein, A. (2016). Abuse and Harassment Diminish Free Speech.
Eberstadt, M. (2015). ‘The Silencing’ of the American College. Time.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017, from http://time.com/3890722/the-silencing-college/
Sanneh, K. (2015). Who’s Fighting Free Speech?. The New Yorker. Retrieved 1 March 2017, from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/10/the-hell-you-say