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Okay folks, I'm aiming for the big ideas today since I'm full of sugar and have time on my hand. As people keep mentioning the topic one way and another on this site, I figured that it would be useful discussing what free speech is and what it may entail. Just so we have a baseline with which to start discussion with, here SHOULD be a uncontroversial definition of it.
Free Speech - A political right that is largely guaranteed in the world's democratic governments, which can be found in the form of either a direct principle in constitutions or a accepted social norm alluded to in derived legislation. It is enshrined in Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights as one of the most important rights that humans have.The right to free speech involves not only the making of speech (no matter the medium), but also covers the formation and distribution of mentioned speech acts (no matter the medium). The right itself allows for people to form, seek out and impart opinions, views and information to others without government or 'outside' interference and largely outside legal prosecution (though there exists exceptions). In general, the right to free speech is possessed by all by standard recognition of human's equal moral status but is usually administered by national government over their people.
Now that's out of the way, let's talk about something more debatable LIKE the following:
1. Should everyone be allowed the right to say anything they wished, for whatever reason they want, in whatever form they desire?
2. Is there a difference between speech made in 'public' (let's say...in a government building or in a shopping centre or in Parliament) or in private?
3. Should there be any restriction on speech made in different contexts and environments?