A few days ago, a friend asked me if we really have freedom of speech or we just think we do.
Let`s consider a few things before I give a definite answer.
Can I say out in the open whatever I am thinking about?
I believe that I can say whatever is on my mind and broadcasted to my friend and on the internet. My message can then by retrieved and transmitted onward by others.
Can I say speak about any politically sensitive subject?
Well, if you take a look at my blog, I can honestly say that I can address any subject from malnutrition to discrimination, unemployment and politics. If I feel inspired, I can write and speak about anything.
Am I allowed to comment on what others are doing and defend my point of view to the criticism of others?
If I feel strongly about an issue and I know I am right, I will comment on what others are saying and I will defend what I have previously said. Everyone`s opinion matters, but “everyone” should be able to defend their opinion with facts and figures when the time comes.
Considering all these answers, we can say that we have freedom of speech. But there is still one more question that needs an answer.
Can I say whatever I think without being afraid of possible repercussions? Can I be objective in what I say without censoring my words and thoughts?
There have been situations in the past where, due to external pressure from different organization, I have been made to withdraw articles or publish new ones in which I mentioned new facts and figures from others sources on the same subject. I have been reticent in publishing articles mentioning individuals or organizations, although they would have been backed up by strong figures from very reliable sources.
In my opinion, if self censorship exists from a wish to be better in what you do, it is a great thing and we still have freedom of speech. But when self censorship comes into play as a way through which fear of “everything” prevents you to have your say then freedom of speech becomes an illusion.
It only seems that, right now, we only have freedom of thought, although we have the most modern means of communications that the world has ever seen.