Is Your Right to Free Speech Oppressed?


One of the fundamental rights of what it means to be human today is the ability to express yourself freely – something we term ‘free speech’. This is an incredibly important aspect of modern society and is an essential element in all democratic countries. Why is it important? Well, I’ll tell you…


Essentially, without the right to free speech, authorities (in most cases the government) has the right to condone what can and cannot be said. It turns the world into a state of fear where people can be punished for what they believe. For example, if the government decides that no one can speak about puppies, your right to free speech has been oppressed – you can no longer express your opinions on puppies. This has happened throughout history (and in some cases it still does).

However, this raises moral, ethical and legal questions. What can we say? What is acceptable? Is hate speech still a crime? It is argued that if there were no boundaries to what can and cannot be said, we would live in a world of hatred and isolation – the opposite is quite true. In general, the human race is a social and friendly animal; most people enjoy being nice and getting along with those around them. Of course, there are exceptions, but there always will be.


So is your right to free speech oppressed? The answer, if you’re reading this newspaper, is likely no. The majority of societies have the right to freedom of speech and use this right in everyday life. Social norms, etiquette, taboo – these might restrict you socially, but certainly not legally. According to the law, in Switzerland, we have the right to express ourselves freely; it is, in fact, a crime to hide information or deny the truth (in legal, political and public affairs).