Being an individual and expressing yourself shows courage especially in a society, which does not allow you to do so. Voicing your opinions, thoughts and ideas helps define a personality and comprehend an individual. It is the right of every being to be able reflect what they feel into words and that is truly what makes them different and unique.
Freedom of speech is not limited to conversations one holds up in daily routines but is applicable to all forms of gatherings and even social media. One can express themselves through pictures, quotations, music, emoticons and much more, freedom of speech is not confined to words per se. It’s a civil right of every citizen, whether they are 12 years old or 80 and more importantly, it’s a moral duty. It emphasizes on respect for others, teaches tolerance and more importantly allows us to comprehend individuality.
Abraham Lincoln has perfectly described what freedom of speech means. The thoughts we think, the perspectives we choose to view the world from, the opinions we have about certain events, incidents, people, situations, no one can think the exact same thing and no one has the power to voice them the way an individual who thinks in a certain manner does. They have the ultimate power and they are free to express them in any way deemed appropriate.
Freedom of speech is not as free as one would like to think. We’re often told to censor what we say in fear of being judged because that is indeed how the society perceives those who express themselves too much. This civil right is not as much of a right as it is a responsibility; we need to be aware of what we say, when, where and with whom. Others can interpret everything in a hundred ways and would find the perfect reason to disagree or call one out on the tiniest detail or saying. It is for the very same reason, many governments around the world have tried to convey a message to the general public that public should censor themselves as it is for their benefit especially the American government who has multiple posters around the country warning people.
In Pakistan, Imran Khan has arranged many public speeches and every time one thing or the other leads to his criticism. The reason: freedom of speech. He expressed his opinion after Trump’s presidential speech, where he said that in a way it was good that America was refusing immigration especially to the Muslim countries which, would allow Pakistani to remain in their homeland and for once do something for their country, work in their own country, receive education in their country so that Pakistan prospers. But this was not how the public perceived his opinion; they were outraged.
Therefore, there should be a balance between total freedom of speech and censorship. One should be smart enough to decide when to speak and when to remain silent.