Lucknow(PTI): An FIR has been registered against BJP MP and Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan for…
Guwahati: The truth is, what your freedom of speech is and where it applies is actually very simple, but our understanding of it has been very distorted, mostly because people use “free speech” as a weapon where it doesn’t apply, and often as a shield to hide behind when they’re being criticized.
Unfettered liberty is not present in any sphere of life. You have the right to build a house on your plot but you don’t have the right to build a factory on that plot if the zoning requirements are not met. You have the liberty to set up a business but you need to take a license. You have freedom of speech but you can’t shout ‘fire” in a movie hall just for the heck of it.
Freedom of Speech is an important right because without it we will not be able to voice our dissent against the government. However, your freedom of speech doesn’t guarantee you anything in a private forum. It is a private forum (though available to the public) because couple of individuals created this forum and they there are the administrators who have the power to use the rules of the forum against errant members. Private entities and private spaces such as this are not required to protect your speech.
Most forums on the internet are privately owned, and have no obligation to allow you to speak freely in their space. Whether it’s on Facebook removing content that violates its own terms of service, a blogger deleting a comment he/she finds offensive, or a big company deleting user posts from its Facebook page, your speech may be censored, but you have no right to free speech in those places.
While the administrators have the freedom to use the rules against you, you also have the right/freedom to vote with your feet by leaving the forum.