The right to worship whatever God(s) one chooses and the freedom of speech or expression are both distinctive rights. They both belong to the same group because they are essential conditions for individual personal growth. The freedom of conscience and freedom of opinion has become a much-debated issue in our today. France Charlie Hebdo cartoon caricature of the prophet Mohammed's attack that took place in 2015 is a major reference.
Charlie expresses his opinion through cartoon images. In his cartoon caricature of the prophet Mohammed, he opines that the right to blaspheme and the right to freedom of speech are contrasting. He believes both rights are the quintessential aspect of the freedom to hold, practice, and share one’s religious beliefs. On a practical level, Charlie appears to be right. This is because it is important to note that freedom of religion has fewer restrictions. Freedom of expression has is subject to more restrictions.
Freedom of speech is a right that allows every other right to be acquired and defended. Our world continues to witness a struggle for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and expression. These distinctive rights go hand in hand to limit the power of the government over the people. Yet, the government pussyfoots system of governance is not allowing much of these rights to its citizens. Freedom of speech is an important aspect of the individual's defense against abuse, attacks, and the government. Freedom of speech is crucial to eradicating tyranny and shouldn't be suppressed.
Nowadays, human rights activists rely on freedom of speech. It enables them to be able to challenge the government's indifference to its citizen's rights. It also addresses the human rights abuses the people face. Freedom of speech is the foundation for any religious and political activity. It should not be repressed or suppressed by anyone or organization.
The tendency to abuse freedom of speech and religion is imminent. When this happens, it will lead to the violation of the rights of others within a state. Freedom of speech is been restricted by many factors and this is causing more conflicts than ever imagined. We have to look into these factors; government, religion, religious leaders, and church tradition. Failure to do this will lead to national threats and insecurities. The government should stop restricting the freedom of speech of the people as it is the cornerstone of every democracy.
The importance of freedom of speech can never be overestimated. Every individual has got the right to express their opinion without fear or interference from anyone. It's their fundamental human right to pursue, and get information from any channel. Although individuals should ensure that while they exercise their rights they don't infringe on the rights of others.
The freedom of speech and religion may be distinctive and fundamental rights every individual need. Yet, we must understand that it comes with duties and responsibilities. These responsibilities help to checkmate the activities of the people, including hostile expressions, and hate. It also helps to prevent any immoral or illegal activities from being carried out all in the name expressing their right. Novel statistics show that human beings feel entitled when given some form of responsibility.
The African Commission in 2002, adopted the ‘Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa’. It highlights the importance of freedom of expression as an individual human right. The Declaration seeks to protect freedom of expression and addresses. It expresses the limitations to the right, the obligation of states to promote diversity of information and private broadcasting. Including freedom of information, independence of regulatory bodies for broadcast and telecommunications, defamation laws, complaints about media content, and attacks on media practitioners.
The African Commission welcomed the ‘Resolution on the Situation of Freedom of Expression in Africa’ in 2006. This is as a result of the fact that the freedom of expression is restricted in some parts of Africa. The Resolution calls on member states to take all necessary measures to uphold their obligations under the African Charter.
The France Charlie Hebdo cartoon controversy illustrates the dangerous imbalance between freedom of speech and the repression of expression. January 7, 2015, witnessed some of France's most celebrated cartoonists killed when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun spree at the Charlie Hedbo paper's office in Paris. The attack came after the office published the cartoon image of the prophet Mohammed depicting him as a tyrant. The trial was due to start in March but was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The trial began on Wednesday and is due to last until November 2020.
This cartoon caricature angered many Muslim, who saw it as blaspheme. The Islamic religion prohibits anyone from depicting the prophet Mohammed in any form. Some kicked against the attacks, many others approved the right of the paper to publish the cartoons as a symbol of freedom of speech. The France cartoon incident provoked mass demonstrations throughout the country. Many died. And it spurred a heated controversy on international law, freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is reduced by possible limitations under such severe provocations. It's no news that freedom of speech can be altered by the government through propaganda, control of the media, and various other measures. Many of these measures are aimed at restricting the press. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the protection of individuals, professionals, and particularly journalists, whose physical integrity is at stake when freedom of speech and religion is insufficiently guaranteed.
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