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DOES FREEDOM OF SPEECH MEAN YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO OFFEND?

Freedom of speech quite literally means we can say whatever we want, opine however we want. The fact that our notions rub some people the wrong way hardly seems to be our fault. After all, everyone has to be able to present their views on a controversy.
The whole purpose of granting freedom of speech was so that people could speak up and make their voices heard. Minorities would no longer be repressed. It would serve as a safeguard against corruption and abuse of power, allowing journalists and others to expose skeletons in miscreants’ closets. And more importantly, it would create a dynamic society, replete with ideas and innovations.
It was all centred on people not afraid to speak out their minds.
But the picture our constitution guys had conjured up then, is far from rosy now.
Talk about misuse and taking things for granted.
Everyone these days has an opinion on everything, whether or not it pertains to them. And not everyone has a brain to mouth filter. Online, the social world is going crazy, with Twitterati fighting about everything from Taylor Swift’s love life to Donald Trump for President.
What people don’t understand is, just because we have the right to say offensive things, doesn’t mean we should. And the important question that arises here is, how do we decide what’s offensive?
The truth of the matter is simple. We can’t. What’s offensive to one person is probably the Bible to another. We can, however, take care not to say things we know will offend others. As long as it’s not intentional, it’s forgivable.
To answer the question- does freedom of speech mean the right to offend- I’ll say no. Freedom of speech means responsibility.

Sanya Srivastava (10-B)

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