A Medium for War, or Peace? 

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Freedom of Speech; or a tool for offence?

Living in the 21st century, today, we have created a war which we’re fighting ourselves. These wars and treaties of peace are backed by our beliefs, opinions, anger, mistrust or thinking. We are consistently pushing ourselves to our limits in order to be heard and our voices expressed. While on this path for self expression; have we truly lost ourselves or are you joining hands with those who have similar beliefs and opinions? Let’s begin a debate.

Social Media in Pakistan 

The freedom of the media in Pakistan has been hard-fought and hard-won over the decades and, arguably, the challenges the industry faces today from the state and certain elements of society are comparable to some of the worst crises of the past.

Together, the media must fight off attempts to maim, muzzle and mutilate it. Yet, a strong, credible and honest media must also address the problems within the industry, especially when those problems threaten the core mission of bringing news, information and analysis to the public.

The Social Media has become powerful to the extent that it has become an agent of change; good and bad. Forums like facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, and many more, flock together to form seperate groups of thinkers, politicians, amateaurs and people from different walks of life. You name it and there it is on the social media websites.

What is freedom? The liberty and the right to speak out freely. Everyone should have freedom of speech, which applies to social media. But, at what cost? 

The Solution

Hate speech has become one the key reasons why social media has faced many criticism in the context of “Freedom of Speech.” Cases regarding blasphemy are witnessed openly and the offender are unable to be located or held accountable for. Then again, the long chain of command leaves a question mark on the regulation of social media. We cannot deprive our generation by keeping them away from social media, but then again can we expose them to violence and hate speech under the banner of “freedom“?

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It’s a one for one game. There are drawbacks and advantages of the social platform. The very solution to this would be personal regulation. Everyone has a right to speak what they wish and those who are the victims of the offender, should regulate themselves in a way which keeps themselves distant. PEMRA can play a huge role in regulating specific pages and sites which give way to hate speech affecting the users; especially those who are in concern.

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Author: Minahil Imran

Minahil is a 21 year old student, pursuing her undergraduate degree at the Lahore School of Economics. Her interests include writing, poetry, technology and psychology.

24 thoughts on “A Medium for War, or Peace? ”

  1. Well written as the author doesnt endorses his opinions as for each opinion given a reason is given. Nice build up as everything is concentrated on topic

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  2. Very insightful article, it raises several salient points pertaining to freedom of speech, especially in the context of social media.
    Freedom of speech is seen as a central feature of any democratic society and it falls under the wider umbrella term of freedom of expression. Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s famous quote comes to mind, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    Having said that, as pointed out in the article above, there are obvious limitations on freedom of speech, hate speech being one of them. Hate speech directed against any race, religion, sex, gender, etc, infringes upon the right to freedom from discrimination. The media is a central tool in shaping opinions and it bears a responsibility to ensure that, e.g., racial slurs and derogatory expressions are not used by media practitioners. Naturally, social media websites like Facebook allow other users to report any hate speech. Yet another limitation on freedom of speech is defamation, incitement to offence,invasion of privacy and copyrights and patents.
    Social media is a relatively new feature in the modern age. It’s increased use has resulted in the introduction of new concepts, such as cyber crime. As it is a new feature, regulating social media and curbing hate speech and other limitations outlined above to the freedom of speech has been difficult. However, with time, hopefully regulatory practices can be developed to supervise social media and ensure that it is not misused.

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  3. Extremely informative article. The author maintains an unbiased opinion throughout her writing which allows the reader to form their opinion without any prejudice.

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  4. This may be a personal opinion, but some form regulation must always be in place, regardless of how important freedom of speech is.
    Take Harrasment cases for example. There are certain cases where the absence of authority does more harm.

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  5. I think people should be given the right to freely express themselves on the social media but with certain limitations outlined by PEMRA itself. PEMRA should make sure that the rules are followed strictly by removing pages and accounts that spread hatred against a particular religion, cast, or color. In this way, people will atleast keep the limits in consideration before posting anything on social media that could cause harm to anyone’s beliefs.

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  6. You have raised a very valid point which has been taking hyoe in such a short time in social media where no man is safe from being bullied or hate because of freedom of speech. But we need to change it and allow freedom of speech to be good thing that happens in our society

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  7. This piece does a good job of staying unbiased and keeping the reader’s thoughts on “speech.” Too many writers steer off course and it was refreshing to see that didnt happen here.

    As for content, its clear, relevant and structured. Although there’s an asymmetric emphasis on the problem, compared to the solution; it can’t be helped, given the issue at hand.

    I personally believe in tempered freedom of speech, because exercising freedom without self restraint is the trait of animals. If people do not govern their words and actions, they must be governed for them. Which is where civil authorities like PEMRA come in.

    Good article, makes one think.

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  8. Good read. The author has very intelligently brought our attention to an issue that most writers find difficult to present.
    Authorities like PEMRA should carefully filter and administer the content being created and shared.

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  9. The idea is actually v good because it may stop a lot of unwanted things from happening but it’s not that easy to be followed because it would require a whole new department from the scratch to take care of social media posts.

    Like

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