Freedom of Speech There Was Essay

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"[T]here remains a distinction between autonomy, the ability to think for oneself, and self-expression, the communicating of one's thoughts to others. Both are important components of our interest in free speech" (Lichtenberg, 336).

Still some believe that any infringement upon the media would diminish the amount of true information disseminated into society. Truth, though, is filled with ambiguity and is intangible -- the "truth" of the media story is based on a moment in time, a slant from the reporter or producer, and if designed to promote the most controversial aspects of a story, becomes subjective truth simply out of necessity -- we are bound by our senses and certainly what we see, hear, and experience is fleeting, This, to Lichtenberg, is similar to the sliding scale of morality that we hold. She uses the example of a restaurant and an individual's personal dining table. We can legally discriminate on the basis of race in choosing whom to invite for dinner, even if it is morally abhorrent. We value choice and personal freedom to the point in which it overrides our views of equality. Yet, when that scenario turns commercial, not only is the principle of privacy revoked, but we now legislate morality and would never allow discrimination (Lichtenberg, 343).

In the 21st century, though, we now have a new conundrum -- what to do with cyberspace and media that is intangible, unregulated, and has a very different access paradigm than print and broadcast media? When adding social media, we find that "no other mode of communication in human history has facilitated the democratization of communication" (Deibert and Rohozinski, 43). The Internet is a tool, however, and we know that tools may be used for good or abject harm. While cyber communications have certainly aided the world towards openness and democracy, it has also allowed for extensive invasions to personal privacy.
Digital communication may be tracked and thus a comment made online in a chat room in 1998 can become evidence against that same person in a trial in 2012.

When dealing with the constitutionality of a subject we must realize that as a living document, the Constitution is a guide, a reference point to interpretations. Instead of asking ourselves whether we should put more controls on the Internet, for instance, by adding a clause to fundamental rights that includes social media, perhaps it is in the better interests of society to educate students into being more and more critical and analytical about the information they consume. It will be the public that decides which media require a greater degree of cynicism and "self-censorship," not politicians and not the advertisers. Then, instead of the media receiving special rights, the very nature of self-regulation through public opinion (advertisers would not promote a show that was antithetical to the public, it would lose money). The masses gave these special rights, and it is masses that can remove them (Lichtenberg, 355).


Deibert, R. And Rohozinski, R. "Liberation vs. Control in Cyberspace." Journal of Democracy. 21 (4): 2010,

Lichtenberg, J. "Foundations and….....

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