Freedom of Expression

2 min readphoto by Diego Marigno (2012)essay

Freedom of expression, protected as a fundamental right in the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2008), forms one of the pillars that helped to create and shape today’s society, which is born from the plurality that emanates from a free society, from its communicative forms, both personal and professional to the democratic policies. It could be assured that freedom of expression and freedom of information are the languages of democracy.

However, it’s the will of autocratic governments to restrain or not this freedom, together with the censorship and disinformation that this would entail so that those who wish to promote critical and rational thought would be unable in their efforts.

In addition to the right to express ideas, it is implicit the ethical and moral responsibility of that which is expressed, not being accepted those freedoms that could result in misfortunes to others. Above all, the dignity of human beings must be respected, avoiding assault, abuse or defaming others under the pretext of defending the right to freedom and self-expression. Thanks to the development of the media, the various advances in journalistic terms, the findings in the investigative areas, the inclusion of politics in new spheres of life, in addition to the countless victories of new technological developments, such as the Internet and the network society into which we’re hybridizing, there has been an evolution in the ways of communicating and producing thanks to the inherent rights of freedom of thought and expression.

Since human beings are sentient beings, freedom of expression is presented as a channel to drain all the information synthesized by the senses, to compare it, to evolve it itself so that it belongs to the vast majority and becomes useful. The way in which freedom unites with societies will be directly proportional to the ethical development of the concept of freedom in those societies since only in a reality based on the values of fairness, equality and justice can any society find cohesion.

Now, what happens when a person uses their right to express themselves freely to attack or promote violence? Is there still freedom or should there be a limit? For these excesses of liberty, more education will be necessary for citizens from an early age, so that the values of justice, equity and equality are created in them, in solid ethical and moral foundations, in addition to the necessary foundation of “legal instruments that proclaim and defend freedom of expression” (Martinez, 2009, p. 178). This education would also seek to give these citizens the tools to further adapt their knowledge to actuality, understanding that the positions or ideologies may change, thus encouraging free will and the capacity for critical reflection on them. Basing freedom on the concept of human dignity, besides putting the state as protector and guarantor element of these rights, will consolidate in the conception of freedom for today’s society of information.

References

Martínez Moscoso, Andrés (2009). La libertad de expresión en la nueva Sociedad de la Información. Perspectivas y conflictos entre derechos, Ecuador. Recovered from www.academia.edu.

United Nations. (2008). Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations. Recovered from www.ohchr.org.

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February 11th, 2016