FREEDOM OF SPEECH AFTER 20 YEARS IN DEMOCRACY
By: Samkelisiwe Gumede
“Twenty years into democracy and freedom of speech is seen as one of the rights of South African citizens that seem to be most violated” said Menzi Shezi.
Many social networks like Facebook and Twitter seem to be the main hot spots where freedom of speech is mostly practiced. In the past years, scandals have taken place on these social networks that have left many evaluating Section 16 of the South African Bill of Rights.
“For me freedom of speech is my ability to say anything I would like to say in regards to anything in any domain. I also understand that freedom of speech is only legitimate if it doesn’t infringe on the rights of another,” said Jordach Sheriden, a frequent social-media user.
“Julius Malema has to be my favourite on Twitter, even though he sometimes comes across as offensive,” said Londiwe Zibuyile. It seems clear that with young people, freedom of speech is important but it comes with responsibilities .
“I do believe this right is being abused by social media and society in general. In television we are shown a lifestyle that involves a lot of independence when the very constitution this democracy was built on encouraged unity and “Ubuntu” as they call it. We need more consultation from mature citizens who can release wisdom to the nation instead of relying on modern culture alone. I believe true freedom of speech will be found when everybody is encouraged to be themselves with no negative influence from social media,” Shezi added.
The problem may not only be with the masses but those of influence who may be showing a lack of moral ethnicity, selling a false.
Being on social networks conveys freedom, but also comes with consequences and responsibilities. Most importantly, freedom of speech gives your audience a sense of what morals and values one holds.
“Every society places some limits on the exercise of speech because speech always takes place within the context of competing values. In this sense, Stanley Fish is correct when he says that there is no such thing as free speech”.