Georgia Reporter

July 25, 2011

The Building Up of the Value Freedom of Speech

In order to fully understand what freedom of speech means, there is a need to understand the laws that support, promote, and protect the freedom of expression. The First Amendment is essentially what provides depth to the right to freely express oneself.

American history tells us that those who first settled in the place are the ones who initially sought freedom of speech for all people. Back then, they wanted to have the free will to choose what they believe and what religion they participate in. They wanted to be able to have free rein on their beliefs whether or not these may be aligned with those of in high positions of a community. However, if it will be referred on the development of freedom of speech in the actual constitution, it can be determined from the year 1735 during a certain man’s trial. His name was John Peter Zenger and he was actually an immigrant from Germany who at that time was working as publishing officer in a Colonial new spreadsheet. Zenger was tried because he published an article on the newspaper he worked for called the Weekly Journal. The article contained words that were not that good for the reputation of William Cosby who at that time was the governor of New York. The governor made it his mission to put an end to Zenger’s inflammatory comments by handing out threats of suing the writer for the act of libel. He finally proceeded to charging Zenger with sedition. The writer was arrested for these charges and was put in trial in 1735. The court found him not guilty and he was acquitted from the charges. It was then when the significance of preserving the freedom of speech was emphasized to the whole of America.

In the year 1776, the significance of freedom of expression was further emphasized by the Virginia Declaration of Rights. This put into ink the call for the right of all citizens to practice the freedom of press which should not in any way be stopped by any government. A man named George Mason was instrumental on why this law was passed. In addition, he also served as inspiration for the creation of different bills of right in several states as well as for the French government’s declaration of the rights of every citizen.

Another person who played a crucial role in the promotion of the freedom of speech or expression is a man named James Madison. He was a man named James Madison and he was the one responsible for creating the first draft of the Bill of Rights. This bill contained two amendments that had a very significant on the freedom of expression. One of the amendments stated that a citizen should in no way be stripped of the right to express his sentiment through spoken and written words. The second amendment stated that no state will have the right to restrict, retain, or violate the people and the press’ free will to express their opinions.

Freedom of expression extends to every type of media in which opinions and the thoughts of individual and / or organizations can be offered. Recently, the internet has become a powerhouse for the rights of people to practice freedom of speech. Personal blog such as Beppe Grillo, consumer report sites such as these tria laser hair removal review and the increased presence of curated and editorialized news content such as The Huffington Post are just some examples of freedom of expression being practiced on the internet.

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