Freedom of Speech and Hate Crimes
Freedom of speech is not an absolute right in any particular country. It is subject to restrictions based on the repercussions it infringes others’ rights including hate speech and defamation. National regulatory and international bodies recognize this freedom as an inherent human right. According to article 19 of the international human rights law, an individual is entitled to the right of expression including the right to obtain and impart his ideas of all frontiers, whether orally or in writing. The article imposes restrictions upon which a person can exercise these entitlements.
Proponents of absolute right privilege argue that in a diverse society, the right of expression enhances democracy. They argue that diverse views on political and social issues of society lead to political conflicts, which can only be solved through expression diverse opinions. Critics assert that the absolute right perpetrates hatred and stigmatizes the society’s marginalized individuals.
This right is related to other human rights. Consequently, the absolute right granted is based on how it affects other rights. In case of conflict, the right fails to uphold and the individual may be sued for exercising the right. Freedom of expression is particularly vital to the media. The freedom of media to disseminate information for the general welfare of the public is subject to conditions. For example, the media is inhibited from disseminating information whose content has the potential to affect the public security and the general welfare of the citizens.
The limitation to this freedom takes place through lawful prohibitions and disapprobation. The limitations adhere to the harm principles and are meant to ensure that all individuals in relation to others rightly exercise power. Different factors come into play when one is applying the principle of harm. This covers the extent, and social significance of the speech, the intentions of the speaker, and intensity of the speech. In addition, the number of persons affected and the society’s general interest should be accessed. In as much as the wrongful behavior does not necessarily impart on these factors, this right is granted in its inherent attributes. Otherwise, remedies should be provided to affected parties.
In most cases, legal penalties are imposed on culprits of hate crimes due to its offensive nature on innocent persons. Proponents argue that it ensures that individuals with strong persuasive skills do not influence the justice system and fail to be sentenced for wrongful acts. For example, an individual who give a death threat to another person may perpetrate the act by exploiting the insufficiency of the law and the legal system. Critics argue that legal penalties are too harsh to be awarded unless they conform to the harm principles. They argue that the magnitude to which people commits offences differ and may result to injustice in the application of law.
In conclusion, freedom of speech is not an absolute human right. It is subject to legal limitations based on how it affects the society’s general welfare. Proponents of absolute privilege on freedom of speech argue that it promotes democracy by airing diverse views on social and political issues. Critics argue it breeds hatred and malice, and should be granted subject to limitations. National and international regulatory bodies grant freedom of speech. However, the degree of its exercise is subject to harm principles. Failure to adhere to the harm principles renders a party liable for unfair exercise of freedom expression. Thus, right of expression should be exercised within the bounds of the law.