The value of free expression in society knows no bounds in 2023. In my opinion, the most essential tool to possess within society is the ability to think and speak as freely as possible without fear of censorship. But free expression to me is interesting because there isn’t a clear-cut portrait that paints the picture of whether it falls into the line of being a public right or merely a personal one. Social media only clouds the issue further with its loose policies and lack of true regulation.
Forbes asks, “If social media platforms continue to operate without constraints, what is the human cost?”
Two Concepts of Freedom (of Speech) discusses mobs of young adults on social media who hyper-analyze celebrities and public figures whom they feel should be “condemned, censored and fired” in given situations, feeling they are only exercising their free expression. In its simplest form, I believe that free expression is a fundamental right that brings value in cases where it’s being exercised publicly or privately.
I believe this because, as individuals, we should be able to possess the right and ability to speak freely without censorship, but a little bit more importantly, news organizations and reporters have a duty to deliver the news to the public. So, journalists could never accomplish what they seek if there isn’t public value in free expression.
The societal value of public expression is very high and has now turned into a concept that is not only public but personal as well. With so many social media platforms and the self-love and identity trend, public expression has become very common. People can freely express themselves and their identities.
Without free expression, I would not be able to wear a t-shirt of my favorite wrestler or band. Self-expression contributes to identity by allowing society to be able to wear what they please, listen to whichever songs they enjoy, or tattoo their body. This is one of the most popular methods Americans use to show their personality.
Free expression is absolutely worth fighting for because, without it, we are simply not able to hold people accountable, and if people aren’t being held accountable, then wrongdoing becomes the new normalcy. This goes for people, companies, or organizations. Another reason is to diversify all areas and not leave certain people or communities out of things due to censorship or lack of representation.
Free expression can come in many forms and should be used responsibly. If used responsibly, it should be protected, but when used with the intention to harm or spread misinformation, it should be condemned.