Freedom of speech is defined as the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc.
Free speech is a fundamental part of our democracy. But does that mean we have the right to say anything we want? What if our views and opinions offend others? Where do we draw the line? SBS’s forum for debate Insight investigated this topic of Free Speech and questioned just how free should it be in our society. Of particular interest, were the views and opinions of artist Sergio Redegalli, who has painted a number of anti-burqa murals in Newtown, Sydney and states that he is simply exercising his right to freedom of speech. Such open expression of Redegalli’s views has sparked debate in his community and asks the question ‘should free speech be regulated’? Watch the debate here. In the last decade it has been easier than ever to voice your opinions through social media avenues such as Twitter and Facebook. The Yerp website developed by the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria supports young people in making change in their communities by speaking up, but it recommends considering the following advice:
Think carefully about what you share on social media. There could be legal risks, like:
- copyright infringement,
- defamation, or
- criminal activity, like harassment, identity theft or distributing offensive material.
To think through any of these ideas in more detail, take a look at:
And if you’re really worried about some of the legal stuff, get in touch with Youthlaw. Remember that social media is a public space and care should be taken when expressing your opinions online! Your views essentially become written statements to see and will exist for many years to come.