Here are some frequently asked questions about free speech, as well as their answers.
- What does freedom of speech have to do with self-government?
Well, freedom of speech is necessary for self-government. If you think that you are a citizen of a free country, then you do have a right to hear all sides of public questions. Your choice is not completely free if someone has the power to limit what facts and opinions you are allowed to hear.
- How can it be said the freedom of speech is the most valuable right to the least powerful?
The rich and powerful in any framework will be able to make their views known. Reformers, dissidents and the poor and marginalized are the ones most in need of the right of free speech, and that is true even if they have less of it than the powerful.
- Why is fake news a threat to free speech?
The argument is that people are harmed by dissemination of fake news—information that is either unverified or known to be false. And you find that this is more than verifiably true; there are, in fact, many that claim to be good sources, but in the end you find you’ve been fooled.
- Is lying a limit to free speech?
You can be prosecuted for lying under oath in court (on a sidenote: it’s called perjury). You can also be charged with misleading authorized investigators. It is also illegal to run dishonest advertisements. And if you deliberately tell lies about people, you can be hit with a lawsuit in civil court for either libel (if published) or slander (if spoken).
- Can you use free speech to defend commercial uses?
Of course, as telecommunications technology started to evolve and advertisement started to gain relevance, there were a number of companies that looked to free speech as a defense and protection against advertising regulations, but it didn’t work much. After all, historically, the motivation for free speech has never had anything to do with a company’s right to advertise their product.
- What is one disadvantage of free speech?
One disadvantage of free speech is that it has the tendency to become harmful. There are some points that come to mind when it comes to freedom of speech which can be harmful or hurtful to others. This can be damaging as it can cause a stampede that could put the lives of people at risk just because a person exercised his right.