Where’s the Line Between Hate and Freedom of Speech?

The digital world encourages us to speak our minds, but does everything belong in the open?

These days we are encouraged more and more to say whatever's on our minds. Emotions, strange ideas and traumatic events are not to be hidden but shown to the rest of the world. Whether you're sharing stories or spreading facts, free speech entitles you to use your voice.

We are taught a persistent mantra: No opinions are invalid. No insecurities are invalid. No feelings are invalid.

Yet while we may appear to be entering an age of equality and freedom like never before, hypocrisy and contradictions are everywhere – especially among those who have the higher moral ground.

Expressing opinions is a crucial way of creating change in the world, but not every opinion you possess is going to be socially acceptable. Once you reveal that one disagreeable notion (or a fair few), it could affect you and your opportunities later in life dramatically. We are expected to be a paradigm of ourselves, someone who has a complete set of fair, good and unwavering views that can stand the test of time, peers and parents. Someone who shouldn’t let other people change how you think, but also agrees with everyone else. In this sense, our speech may be less free than ever.

Yet I also can’t be the only one who has heard or seen an opinion that is unbelievably ridiculous or offensive, only for the perpetrator to receive backlash and respond “but it’s my opinion.” It is clear that freedom of speech can also be used as a tool for propagating hate.

Freedom of speech has always been a tricky subject, with many issues surrounding this ideology. How to prevent hate speech without impacting free speech is a difficult subject that remains somewhat unresolved …

Zixin MIV