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Free speech, yes or no?

I have always thought I agreed with:

I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, the quote famously misattributed to Voltaire.

However with the rise of social media and the likes of Alex Jones, I no longer think free speech is the sign of a democracy.
How can you lie there and think of England
When you don't even know who's in the team

S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border


  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    I totally agree punkdoc. People who spread fake news are causing a huge amount of damage and heartache. The problem is though how to stop them. 

    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    I agree too, but where does the line get drawn.... 
    Impossible to know - or to know how it should be tackled, as you say @Uff .   :/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,004
    It's the old issue of rights carrying responsibilities, I suppose. The right to speak freely confers the responsibility to not cause actual harm with what you say. Saying something that offends is one thing, saying things that result in someone breaking into a house and bludgeoning a guy with a hammer is entirely different. Understanding that if you say 'I'm not happy with the result of this election', somebody may begin an investigation into whether it was a free and fair vote, or someone might take a gun and shoot a policeman and that it's therefore important that you consider the context and the forum in which you speak freely should be a given. It isn't, it seems.

    If 'people' can't be trusted to accept the responsibility, the rights are inevitably eroded. And that is a tragedy. I wonder whether that was always the aim. To have rights to free speech diminished so that, in time, they are lost. And authoritarian powers can then claim they are simply protecting us when they impose controls on opinions
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,070
    Trouble is, there's free speech and then there's free speech. Who gets to decide which is which? We all like to think we can tell the difference between an opinion and misinformation/lies/fake news presented as fact, but probably none of can in every single case. And some people seem to be more easily convinced (gullible?) than others.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,579
    I deplore the rise in recent years of ‘my truth’ - a pretentious way of saying an unverifiable personal opinion.
    Rutland, England
  • WonkyWombleWonkyWomble Posts: 4,477
    When we have so called journalists presenting programs like the Martin Bashir that have concocted fake evidence in order to coerce a member of the royal family, or major tabloids hacking people's phones, or super injunctions to get wealthy out of public trouble.....I will continue to trust nothing completely.
    Except the right to free speech.
  • I'm not sure Alex Jones thinks speech is free anymore. There should be consequences for our actions whether they be physical or verbal. 
    The problem with everything in our world is everything spirals out of control and in the modern age it's more widely publicised meaning we hear about things we wouldn't before.
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,987
    I always thought that if you have people the right of free speech , at least you knew what they were thinking and could speak against it to convince them of the errors . If you stopped someone voicing their opinions, they would continue to hold them without contradiction. Not so much now. The voice of reason is lost in a miasma of fake news and conspiracy theories.
    I'm also concerned about the way that the BBC is forced to give equal opportunity to both sides of an argument. The impression is often given that it's 50/50 when ,to any rational observer, it patently isn't.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
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