To speak freely, or not to speak freely?
In America, we live in a country where freedom of speech is a tenet upon which our country was founded. The right to think and express ourselves is in many ways what Americas have used to distinguish themselves from other nations.
How important is it to think and express ourselves freely? Is it an absolute right, or are there situations in which an authority should be able to limit your ability to express yourself?
Spain is wrestling with this debate after the national government implemented the Citizen’s Security Law this summer. The law places tight restrictions on protests near Spanish government buildings, increases the police’s ability to break up peaceful protests, and even places limits on what can be placed on social media – all punishable by heavy fines. Critics call this a “gag law,” meant to punish legitimate criticism of the government. In April, a group called No Somos Delito (We Are Not a Crime) staged a unique protest in Madrid. Thousands of people ‘marched’ in front of Parliament, but not in person – they were all part of a hologram. More than 2,000 people participated in this first-of-its-kind virtual demonstration by simply sending a picture of their face to be included in the hologram. This one-of-a-kind protest has brought international attention to a very serious debate about the limits of free speech that resonates not just in Spain, but in societies all over the globe.
In the United States this topic certainly hits home. The news is filled with stories about limiting freedoms of speech for the sake of national security, or curbing protests, rallies, or music that a majority of people find objectionable or hateful. (Can you think of some examples?)
But this topic might directly affect you personally – as a high school student – more than you think. Can you really think and communicate whatever you want, however you want? If you were to exercise this freedom, how would your peers react? How would your teachers react?
When we click on the picture below, we are going to see some different perspectives on this topic from news sources all over the world. Just like students our classroom, these news sources might have different opinions on the same topic.
Select a side and begin to create an argument -- Are you arguing for freedom of speech or for restrictions on freedom of speech? (Keep in mind you might not necessarily be arguing for something you personally believe in!)
1) Find evidence from these news sources to support your argument. In most cases, one sentence will suffice.
2) In addition to this evidence, come up with your own example to support your argument.
3) Now, using these two pieces of evidence, use your communication skills to persuade us that you are right. Find your voice and SPEAK OUT!