The international news media recently highlighted the subject of freedom of speech with the President of the United States of America and the President of Egypt holding contrasting views on precisely what this should mean.
On the one hand, President Obama implicitly advocated for freedom of speech irrespective of the nature of the utterances. On the other hand, President Morsi argued that freedom of speech should not be construed as a licence to spew hate and intolerance of others' religion and culture. In my opinion the President of the USA reflects our position. Yet, given the spiralling rate of crime, violence and indecency plaguing us, isn't it time we reconsidered our position?
The argument about freedom of speech is timely as it relates to us and the issue of governance. If we accept that President Obama is right, then we simply continue with business as usual. Our entertainers will continue to spew indecency and hate against maligned sections of the populace and the rule of law. However, if we accept that President Morsi is right, then legislating on what constitutes freedom of speech becomes inevitable. Either way, we should have the moral courage to ask whether freedom of speech can justifiably include utterances in the public domain that perpetuate violence and indecency. If we are to resolve our ills, then we need a reawakening of consciousness to the meaning of life. I think collectively, we have lost that as a nation.