Freedom of speech… but to what extent? 

By Lily Collin S5SVA at EEB2

We have the privilege of living in the EU, where freedom of speech is an important human right. We can speak freely, but to what extent? How much should actually be censured or deleted when discussing on, for example, social media? 

I think everybody should have the right to let their voice be heard. Everybody has a right to their opinions, because after all, there is no wrong or right, is there? Everything can be seen from different points of view, and everybody has different opinions about the same matter. The line between what is and what isn’t acceptable to say is quite blurry. Different people might get offended by different things, and some are offended easier than others. However, what I would say could be a good rule, is that you can use your human rights, as long as you don’t violate the rights of others, by for example disrespecting their beliefs, insulting them, or bullying them. 

Today, I was scrolling through Instagram, minding my own business and reading some comments on a few posts. One post featured a girl getting her face painted. I didn’t think much of it, except that it was a pretty cool technique. Then, I opened the comment section, and the majority of the comments were hating on the fact that the face paint included a rainbow. You’re probably thinking: ” Why are they hating because of a rainbow?”. Well, because they didn’t see the nature phenomenon, they only saw their own hate towards the LGBTQIA+ community. This obviously made me very upset, and I couldn’t understand why they would write comments such as “Brainwashing kids to become gay while they are still young and innocent, before they learn what is right and wrong, tragic.” and  ”the LGBT has ruined the rainbow”. The worst of them were people with religious beliefs,  saying that being queer is a mental illness. Everybody was having debates about whether it was brainwashing or just a rainbow. I then thought about if the comments of the other party were acceptable or not. I concluded that some absolutely weren’t and therefore reported some comments, though Instagram to my understanding won’t delete them. I cannot understand why people must always have such strong opinions about matters that don’t concern them. What does it change for them if somebody else is gay, bi, lesbian, trans, questioning, queer, or in any other way part of the LGBTQIA+ community?  

In conclusion, use your freedom of speech, as long as you don’t violate other people’s human rights. I also think that everybody should be allowed to be who they are without remorse.