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Free speech, a fundamental human right

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By Mehrunnisa Jameel

In order for everyone to express their opinions without fear of repercussion, as Albert Einstein once observed, “laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.”

In actuality, the right to freedom of expression is a basic and fundamental human right that is upheld by many nations across the world and is recognised by international law. This right involves the freedom to look for, receive, and share knowledge regardless of the medium or the obstacles. It is impossible to exaggerate the value of freedom of expression in a society. It is a pillar of free and open societies, enabling people to openly express their thoughts without worrying about repression or censorship. Without this right, people may be denied access to information, their voices may be muffled, and the government may be able to dominate the media.

Freedom of speech is not unrestricted, though. Limitations may apply when it’s required to safeguard the rights or reputation of others, as well as the nation’s security, law and order, or public health. We must vigorously defend and uphold the freedom of expression. Governments must understand that upholding this right is not just required by law, but also necessary for a democratic society to function. When governments violate this right, we must hold them responsible and seek to build a more welcoming society where the right to free expression is genuinely valued and safeguarded. Only then can we make sure that democracy endures for many years to come.

The writer is a student of BS Journalism Studies 8 Semester, at School of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore.

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