Since I was 8, I have been taught to think before I speak. In the time I took to grow up, I realized that the thinking process wasn’t to keep my ideas locked inside my brain, rather the whole idea behind this lesson was to make me learn and respect the views of those around me. In those years I learned to listen, evaluate, and retaliate in ways which were fruitful. I gathered the many ideas invested in my brain by those who I listened to, and I learned to speak when it was right to speak, and stay quiet when my voice was being left muffled among those who it did not matter to.
It is our basic right to express ourselves and speak our minds in situations which we have knowledge of, however, it is also true that an unconditional power to ones tongue is harmful in many cases where our knowledge is confined within our level of understanding certain subjects. In such cases, the liberty to speak whatever we want to, can have disastrous outcomes and reactions.
Subjects like religion, politics, and personality are so delicate that we can never be sure if the person reading our words is on the same page as ours. The words could be misinterpreted and their meaning twisted in ways we are unsure of. Hence, it is always better to stay on ones guard when posting on topics as fragile as these.
Recently, a rumor got spread that Facebook was being banned in Pakistan, just like You-tube was banned a couple of months back. This happened due to a certain religious propaganda that was spread across the social media, and the Muslims of the country decided to put a stop to it. Read more on this:
In my opinion, I found it extremely appropriate under the circumstances, however, the fact that people of our country need to increase their knowledge and learn to debate with those who oppose them, learn to be able to answer the countless queries of these people who have little knowledge of our religion, and learn to be able to defend our religion in ways which have a non-violent end to it, is crucial.
Banning a social media platform where millions of views are being shared each passing minute, I believe, it is time we learn to respect the views of those who think differently than us, and let the authorities, be it the Government, or the PEMRA, decide which topics are fragile enough and must be kept under constant surveillance. I think, by staying in certain boundaries when speaking our mind out openly on a public forum, we can gain more and lose less. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, have a sole purpose of people staying connected and sharing ideas, hearing the voices of those who live light years away from us, and being heard across the globe. It is always better to widen your perspective, and learn to respect the views of others, since their minds are as different from you as their bodies, and no two humans think alike.
Living in today’s era, and not supporting Freedom of Speech, is like being a coward to your own actions. Twenty-four seven we use social media to express our anger, our happiness, sadness, anxiety, and what not, and then at the end of the day, saying “I don’t believe in Freedom of Speech”, well, it simply isn’t done. Similarly, I bear in mind, that if given full liberty to speak without constraints, and communicate without limitations, i myself might end up negating the lesson I’ve been taught all my life, and I might debate in unhealthy ways, therefore, to say “I support Freedom of Speech”, I must also have enough strength in me to hear criticism on my personal and private life, and not defend it irregardless of what I believe in.
I believe we should not just focus on being heard, we should focus equally on listening to those who think contrary to our believes. Supporting freedom of speech is as important to me as it is to you, and I say we should learn and evolve, rather than stay and defend. Therefore, I support neutrality when it comes to supporting Freedom of Speech. I believe we can advance in the world when we have a balance between freedom and responsibility; and we chose to be wise.