Social media provides platforms where almost all people express themselves and voice their opinions "freely". Even though freedom of expression is a human right, the question of how much freedom a person should have on social networking sites has been raised and needs to be addressed.
On the 29th of March, the Law Students’ Society held a debate on freedom of expression on social media, where two teams with opposing stances argued for what they believe is the most suitable answer to the aforementioned question.
Team Yellow, made up of three students, opted for unlimited and uncensored freedom of expression. The team claimed that social networking sites allow citizens to voice out their concerns and to shed light on matters that other media outlets disregard or misrepresent. They explained that limitations and censorship can be used as a form of subjugation and oppression by authorities.
On the other hand, the three students making up Team Green advocated for a diminution of this freedom. They claimed that free speech can easily turn into hate speech without certain restraints and, accordingly, can jeopardize national security and individuals’ privacy and reputation. Statements that can incite violence and hatred should not fall under the category of “freedom of expression” and should be punishable by law.
The audience listened attentively and assessed each group’s argument. After that, they voted for who they thought best presented their ideas, announcing Team Green as the winners.
All in all, one must always keep in mind that everyone can see what others post on social media; there is no such thing as privacy on the World Wide Web. It’s best to make sure that one’s posts do not harm others or influence them negatively in any manner.
- Hiba Shaito
Communication and Social Media