Ethics in Practice

Many people profit from the constitutional right to free expression. Although it is a part of the legislation, this provision is a frequent topic of discussion. Free speech is said to prevail over all restrictions, with the exception of instances where it is intended to hurt another person. How much freedom is enough to justify constraint is a fuzzy line that blurs the distinction between restriction and freedom. According to John Stuart Mill, even when an opinion is blatantly incorrect, it is never appropriate to silence it. But, we have some control on how and when people share their opinions (LaFollette 346). This indicates that people should be permitted to express themselves in whatever language or form in which they wish. Pornography often comes up in conversations involving freedom of speech, as one of the rights to which people should be allowed. Bristol argues that pornography harms women in the sense that it “glorifies rape of and violence towards women” (LaFollette 346). This opinion bifurcates people into two types: those who feel that pornography should be legalized as it is a part of free speech and those such as Bristol who feel otherwise. Speech and expression entails all forms of action and verbal talk that is meant to raise one’s concerns regarding a particular issue, and should be treated with high and unrestricted regard. The exception includes cases in which they are meant to cause harm to other individual, whether in the short or long term.

The freedom of speech is a fundamental right that should be accorded every individual of a free state. Human beings are communicative beings who thrive on voicing out their opinions regarding how matters should be handled (Renstrom 156). These opinions may be in the form of ideas that are futuristic in fields of science, sociology, or economics, or it may be a simple complaint by a student who is unfairly treated by teachers. The magnitude of different issues is varied. However, each one of them is relatively important to the individuals who wish to raise them. Therefore, it is essential that they be given a voice to speak. As stated, the freedom of speech may extend to the kind of material that people are allowed to access, whether on the public domain or in the privacy of their homes. Pornography is a contentious matter, because, as Altman says, it relates more to sexual rights than it is a form of speech (LaFollette 347). However, this content, as Bristol says, is produced for the general public. Therefore, it may be accessible to anyone. Nevertheless, it represents the right of the actors and actresses taking part in such films to express their wishes through pornographic acts. Whoever wishes to consume such material should also be allowed to do so without restriction or judgment.

It is important to explore reasons why restriction of the freedom of speech may be considered as a valid way of keeping the society in order and away from anarchy. If everyone was allowed to do whatever he or she pleases, then the society would have a lot of disorder, considering that everyone has his or her opinion of everything. Some may be malicious with intentions of harming other individuals (House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 997). Therefore, restriction is vital. However, in drawing the line between what should be permitted and that which should be banned or controlled, certain definitions are important. It is important that in this consideration, opinions based on personal judgment be kept away from making decisions. Instead, logic should be allowed with respect to the societal moral values. For instance, verbal abuses and incitement to violence constitute negative speech whose outcome may lead to injuries, both physically and emotionally. They should be restricted completely with the aim of maintaining peace. The issues related to matters of sexuality are permitted full control only for adults, who possess the right to choose their lifestyles and whatever material suits them. Controlling access for children is fundamental because they do not have rights to full consent and as a result, must be guided by guardians. Adults should be allowed to enjoy full freedoms to express and access whatever content they please.

The freedom of speech involves any kind of action that is meant to give a person the voice to do or say whatever they want to without any form of restriction. The subject in context may be anything, whether related to open matters of the state and complaints regarding services among others. The media may be used as a form of expression, such as when films are made to elicit certain actions, either in the positive or negative light. It may be in the spirit of activism or a simple video showcasing sexual content, which is highly contentious. Decency has to be considered in making certain content and even airing views in public. Therefore, factors to consider when deciding the line between freedom and restriction of speech should be based on decency, respect for others and the level of negative impact or harm that could be caused in letting a speaker express certain sentiments or views.

Works Cited

House Committee on Foreign Affairs;Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007. Government Printing Office, 2008. Print.

LaFollette, Hugh. Ethics in Practice. Wiley, 2002. Print.

Renstrom, Peter G. The Taft Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy. ABC-CLIO, 2003. Print.

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