Freedom of speech is your right, be wise


PAPUA New Guineans need to develop a culture of debate where topics and issues are discussed in a level-headed and mature manner as well as pass reasoned and informed comments on news and happenings that affect them.
The idea of free speech and the right to express one’s opinions is crucial to our democracy.
Thankfully we are allowed to express our thoughts via several mediums, whether it be print, television, radio, online or social media.
But there are limits that many in mainstream media will not cross.
Social media, however, does not have that filter nor does it have heavy regulatory input by its administrators or users.
Issues that crop up or are the flavour of the month can attract hundreds of comments on issues for hundreds, if not thousands, more to read and digest.
Many of these people tend to post things they would never say or do in person or in public.
That is what social media provides for the voiceless masses – a platform of anonymity and exposure.
Free speech and the right to articulate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship or societal sanction is the cornerstone of any free society.
Freedoms of speech, the press and information are guaranteed under Section 46 of the Constitution.
But some people do invariably stretch the limits of their free speech rights and encroach on defamatory and inflammatory statements, utterances and comments.
It is only human nature that we sometimes tend to think first before we speak, but once the words leave our possession, they cannot be taken back, unless under the threat of legal action or just plain old good manners and proper sensibilities.