Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to the voice one’s opinion publicy without fear of censorship or pinishment. Speech is not limited to public speaking and is generally taken to include other forms of expression. The right is preserved in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Right and is granted formal recognation by the laws of most nations. Nonetheless the degree to which the right is upheld in practice varies greatly from one nation to another. In many nations , particularly those with relatively authoritarian forms of government, overt government consorship in enforced. Consorship has also been claimed to occur in other forms (see propaganda model) and there are different approaches to issues such as hate speech , obscenity , and defamation laws even in countries seeen as liberal democracies.
Article III Section IV of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines specifies that no law shall be passed abridging of the freedom of speech or of expression. Some Laws inconsistent with a broad application of this mandate are in force, however.
Individual freedom and collective expression in the Philippines, I’d say, is the most exercised and an unmistakable sign of this country’s democracy. Our individual rights and freedoms, the most basic, the essential to the complex and critical ones define our identity as Filipinos, and the basic extension of our humanity. That need to express, to communicate, and to reach out to one another without the fear of judgement or even criminal prosecution. We have the freest press, the most uncensored and unrestricted provisions on our freedom to express ourselves, to seek other people’s take on relevant issues and sometimes just so, because we want to and because we can. And when these are stripped of us, we resist. We react, and to some extent violently and rebelliously just so we can send that fierce message that as a democratic country, with the collective freedoms and rights declared in our character, no one has the right to deny us of those rights and freedoms.
But sometimes, too much freedom can mean abuse of freedom. And restriction or not, these freedoms aren’t absolute. One is still liable to what he says, especially in public. As professional and practitioners of the press, they are responsible for balanced views and opinions. Slander, libel, false accusation and any other form with malicious intent is tolerated by freedom of expression and expect it to give him immunity from law.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impact information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Article 19 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and political Rights affirms: Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and important information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”
The positive conception of freedom involves the individual’s desire to control himself. This vision holds that not only can an individual’s freedom be hindered by other individuals or government but also by other factors such as the individual’s emotions, impulses or socio-economic status. This conception often requires action or intervention on the part of others in order for the individual to realize his freedom, not just inaction or non-interference on the part of others like the negative conception (Berlin, 2002). In the area of free speech, the tension between positive and negative freedom can be exemplified in a rather simple manner. At the heart of the tension is the question, “Is government responsible for actively fostering and ensuring a diverse and robust environment in which all opinions are heard, or is its responsibility to refrain from any action, allowing individuals to speak freely without government interference?” A positive conception of freedom is what is implied in the former notion. In its positive form, freedom of speech implies that government should be actively involved in ensuring all speech is presented to the public. The latter notion implies a negative conception of freedom. In its negative form, freedom of speech implies that government stay out of the way in terms of individuals exercising speech.