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DOES FREEDOM OF SPEECH GIVE US THE RIGHT TO OFFEND?

 Without a doubt, yes it does. Freedom of speech has nothing to do with the right to offend; that’s like asking whether your traffic law protects your right to vote. Freedom of speech, as described by our most trusted search engine, Google, is as follows:
“Freedom of speech is the right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship.”
It means the right to express how you feel, regardless of whom it offends, or whether that expression offends at all. Freedom of speech protects us from persecution by the government. It is a mighty tool in the hands of the people in a democratic country. The political and social value of freedom of expression lies in the airing and discussion of controversial views. That is the sole purpose of it; inoffensive speeches don’t need protection by law. Without the freedom to offend, the freedom of speech ceases to exist.
However, many people completely abuse this right and think that it’s right to say something sexist or racist simply because they have ‘the freedom of speech’. This right must be used in a responsible manner. Offense may be the acceptable result of an exercise of freedom of speech, but freedom of speech does not confer the right to offend.
Freedom of speech, also, does not mean that you will be free of the consequences of your speech. If you have offended certain people, they have the right to be offended and offend you back, and you cannot use this right as an excuse to get away from the consequences of your speech. Freedom of speech, as understood in most democracies, means the government may not prevent you from speaking your mind. It does not mean that anyone/everyone has to agree with you.

 Shreya Ghosh(10-E)

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