How free should Free Speech be?

All the drama with Roy Ngerng, Amos Yee and TRS has got me thinking about ‘Free Speech’…

What is it really?

Is the idea of ‘free speech’ as free as we really think it is?

All of us have a varying tolerance when it comes to the views of others; and how much they should be allowed to say as part of the idea of ‘free speech’. Some questions that we should be asking even before we start debating whether or not some people should be sued, or websites shut down.

Does ‘free’ absolve one of the responsibilities of his/her words?
Does ‘free’ give people the right to spread untruths?
Does ‘free’ mean ignoring the consequences of our words on others?

Some say ‘free speech’ is a right; it is embedded in our constitution. I agree, it is a right, but which definition of ‘free’ does this right follow? As we exercise our ‘right’ to ‘free speech’ are we infringing on other rights of others?

All of us have varying definitions of the word ‘free’, but what should society’s definition of ‘free’ be?

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2 thoughts on “How free should Free Speech be?

  1. Hello. Free speech just means you don’t get arrested for speaking. Whether or not others get to question you is another matter entirely

  2. Dear YoursFaithfullySg,

    We’re writing from Inconvenient Questions (IQ), a socio-political website which seeks answers on burning issues from netizens with the hopes of promoting a robust, honest discussion on issues without having to resort to vitriol.

    Once a fortnight, we organise an in-depth studio discussion which will be recorded and posted online along with 5 to 6 snippets showing key highlights. You may view our previous discussions here. http://inconvenientquestions.sg/Events

    We’d like to extend an invitation to you or any of your blog’s readers participate in our upcoming discussion on free speech and it’s rules of engagement. We hope that this would be of interest to you given that you’ve written a post about the topic. The event details are as follows:

    Title: debateIQ – Rules of Engagement?
    Date: Wednesday 13th May 2015
    Time: 5:30pm – 7:45pm
    Venue: NUS U-Town

    The discussion hopes to look at the “light touch” the government has adopted in regulating free speech. We hope that the discussion will help to shed light on the boundaries of acceptable and respectful speech.

    If you’ll like to find out more, pls do not hesitate to contact editor@inconvenientquestions.sg

    Yours Faithfully,
    IQ Editors

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