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Free Speech Crisis: Non-fiction Or Myth? by Tanha Azam Chowdhury (Issue #1)

Free speech is an essential principle that supports an individual to be able to share their thoughts and express their opinions and ideas without fear of government interference, or retaliation of any sorts.

Though I strongly believe that freedom of speech is so immensely significant in today’s society and especially during this global pandemic that we are fighting against, I wonder if there is an extent to which it can be abused.

On August 24th of 2020, BBC News had reported information about a man who had lost his wife to the Covid-19 virus, because he believed that the virus was a hoax. The couple said that they had read dozens of articles on Facebook accounts claiming that the virus was in fact, not real and was merely a form of distraction sanctioned by the government to confuse the masses. However, when the couple fell ill to the virus, the man took to Facebook to let out a personal statement that went viral overnight that basically explained that he had been terribly misled by the web of deception woven online. In May, a BBC team had tracked misleading information about the virus and had found shocking results online that linked to multiple assaults, arsons and death. The volume of deceit formed online by various sites were responsible for putting multiple lives in danger of falling sick to the fast-spreading virus.

While it is helpful having social media platforms to speak aloud your inner thoughts and express your opinion to the general public, it may be utilised in a harmful manner when put under the wrong influence. Free speech is as important as it is dangerous. It may lead to both intriguing and constructive conversation or in some unfortunate cases, free speech could be manipulated into creating chaos and mayhem amongst society.

The extent of ingenuity responsible for cultivating charismatic conversation about sensitive topics through free speech may prove to be difficult to many individuals. I think that this is because we are simply just so different from one another. We can’t expect to always get along and think in the same manner for recognition of the fact that we are a community. A community of people often fighting for the same cause and truth.

Free speech might either be difficult to attain or easier to achieve; depending on where one lives around the globe. I think that free speech is a privilege to many but, it varies from different countries and their policies. Some areas deny the complete existence of free speech. It is important to recognise that privilege if you are able to possess it.

However, I think that free speech is always going to have a price tag attached to it, as I believe that no matter how well composed the debate may seem to an individual, free speech may often open up to become that of a mythical folklore known as Pandora’s box. Although, we continue to hope for the better, I leave it up to you to decide the truth for yourselves. Do you think the free speech crisis is a myth or is it the constant reality we are living?

This post was edited by Muskaan Duneja.

Produced by students from GEMS World Academy Singapore. Contact the team: