The freedom of speech, located in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is arguably the most important to the foundation of our country. It is often a hot topic of discussion what exactly the term “freedom of speech” entails. In my opinion, freedom of speech should be just as it sounds, the ability to speak your mind and not have to be worried about any consequences. However, this is very difficult to put fair and effective laws on, because not every situation can fall into one specific category.
I believe that it is important to have some degree of exception or limitation to this rule. For instance, calling a school while thousands of students are present and making a bomb threat. Something like this where people could get hurt should definitely not be allowed by the law. Not to mention the wasted efforts of the police and bomb squad and the lost teaching time for the students.
Another situation that the freedom of speech should not cover is obviously false defamatory statements such as slander and libel. While it is often important to allow the truth about someone to be known, saying things known to be false about a person and claiming them true simply to bash the person’s reputation should not be allowed or accepted by society.
Perhaps the hardest type of freedom of speech to regulate, obscene material is one of the most spoken of and debated about in the media. As far as things such as news or television shows are concerned, as long as it does not conflict with the above two situations, nothing else should need to be censored. As long as some sort of rating was placed at the beginning of each show or movie warning of possibly offending material, if the person still chooses to watch it, they are doing so on their own decision. They could just as easily have turned off the TV. Although critics of this may claim children would still watch material not appropriate for their age, I firmly believe this is the parents responsibility and not the networks’. The technology today makes it easy to block certain ratings and even entire channels.
It could be considered a person’s responsibility to make sure the truth is known. This is important in order to attempt to maintain the honor and integrity of our country and in order to have a system allowing for the freedom to express what you think and feel.
Bulliet, Richard W. Earth and Its Peoples: Complete. Houghton Mifflin College Division, 2004.