Talk:Freedom of speech

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Proposed merge with Freedom of information[edit]

I think the current topics of these two articles are sufficiently similar that they can be covered in one article, and "Free speech" should be it, because it is more popular term. Meanwhile, we currently seem to lack an article covering "freedom of information" as understood by the various Freedom of Information Acts; I think it should be put under that title, [[Freedom of information]]. (A good start would be moving Freedom of information laws by country there.) Keφr 17:20, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose, Freedom of information is most definitely notable and encyclopedic enough for its own independent page on Wikipedia in its own right. The concept spawned multiple Freedom of Information Acts in different countries around the world. — Cirt (talk) 19:37, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
    • You seem to be confusing two distinct matters here. What is currently discussed at [[Freedom of information]] is pretty much synonymous with freedom of speech (the right to produce and exchange information), but "freedom of information" as understood by the various FOIAs is something else: the right to obtain information from the government. (Some countries which know better do not even call the latter concept "freedom of information".) It is precisely this confusion which I want to clear up, by having the former concept at [[freedom of speech]], and the latter at [[freedom of information]]. Keφr 21:42, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
      • The Freedom of information article is hopelessly misguided. The first sentences of the lead waffles on about it being "an extension of freedom of speech", but failing to provide any explanation as to what this extension might be. It then carries on about it also (and that is without giving any definition about what its main meaning might be) referring to "right to privacy and in the context of the Internet and information technology", again without providing any citations for this definition.
      • The most general usage of the term "Freedom of information" is in connection with the level of insight given to ordinary citizens into the workings governments, something which technically is not directly connected to "freedom of speech". And the article in question does indeed partially cover that by mentioning some "freedom of information" laws of various countries, but in the last half again strays into what seems to be highly confusing non sequiturs about "hacktivismo" and "internet censorship", at least no citations are provided that connects those parts with the actual title of the article. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:13, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As per my above. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:14, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I agree that Freedom of information is confused. It is actually a 'right' to get information from the government. A freedom (privilege) is not a right; rather it is the absence of a duty (correlative to a right). You are free to speak because you have no legally enforceable duty (which would be someone else's right) to refrain from speaking. JRSpriggs (talk) 08:05, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Notification of a TFA nomination[edit]

In the past, there have been requests that discussions about potentially controversial TFAs are brought to the attention of more than just those who have WP:TFAR on their watchlist. With that in mind: Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties has been nominated for an appearance as Today's Featured Article. If you have any views, please comment at Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests. — Cirt (talk) 20:28, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Proper Citations?[edit]

Wikipedia history indicates that on April 25, 2013 JRSpriggs added "property" to the right of free speech. But there is no reference for this and it appears to be just a personal opinion. The addition happens after what appears to be discussion of whether or not there should be a clear distinction between "speech" and "expression". If basic rights are at issue and there is a distinction between "speech" and "expression", it would seem more appropriate to place property in the "expression" scope as opposed to the "speech" scope. But the lack of ANY source for this opinion is the reason for my involvement.The Trucker (talk) 20:23, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Your freedom of speech would be greatly impaired if you could not use: megaphones, microphone-amplifier-loudspeaker, audio or video recording and playback, radio telephones, television, etc. to convey your ideas to others. For some disabled people, the inability to use devices would render them entirely speechless. However, just because such a speech-enhancing device exists does not mean that you may willy-nilly use it, it must belong to you or you must have permission from the owner to use it. To me this is all perfectly obvious, but I am aware that those who seek to suppress speech will use any excuse to try to do so. For example, claiming that since devices were used that they are subject to regulation by the government even though the devices are privately owned. JRSpriggs (talk) 10:37, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
That's an interesting point but it appears to be a fringe theory and original research in violation of core policies Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Verifiability. It is not part of the standard discourse on freedom of speech and it is your problem to go get it published somewhere else first besides Wikipedia. The reason it is not part of the general discourse is that it is far too broad---the same point could easily apply to many other human rights---and hence, if that should be on Wikipedia at all, it should be under human rights or property or some other article. Would definitely concur if The Trucker desires to edit that nonsense out of the article. --Coolcaesar (talk) 04:48, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
I think that Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights probably acts as a valid reference. -- Q Chris (talk) 10:39, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't support the claim made by User:JRSpriggs though, since it doesn't connect the right of property specifically with free speech, they are two separate rights. --Saddhiyama (talk) 13:44, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
For example, to the extent that speech is conveyed by radio or television, the freedom to engage in such speech was/is impaired by the Fairness Doctrine and the Equal-time rule of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. According to Fairness Doctrine#Basic doctrine, "In 1985, under FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler, a communications attorney who had served on Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign staff in 1976 and 1980, the FCC released a report stating that the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment." (emphasis added). Whether the property rights of radio and television stations are included in freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment is controversial, but so is freedom of speech itself. We should support the expansive interpretation. See [1] for a reliable source. JRSpriggs (talk) 05:24, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Adding a source mentioning a specific example as a citation for a general statement on the subject would be also be OR (you are making the interpretation that the effects of this specific doctrine on a specific piece of rights legislation in a specific country proves that freedom of speech is connected to property rights in general). We would need a reliable secondary source that claims the connection exists in general. --Saddhiyama (talk) 19:26, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
The LA times report not only supports the sentence I quoted from our article on the Fairness Doctrine, it also contains this — "[President Ronald Reagan] said the bill 'simply cannot be reconciled with the freedom of speech and the press secured by the Constitution.'", showing that Reagan considered property used for speech to be covered by freedom of speech in this case. Also see "Human Rights as Property Rights" by Murray N. Rothbard, "Property Rights imperative to Free Speech" by Jeremy Hicks. And from Wikiquote, "It is no longer open to doubt that the liberty of the press, and of speech, is within the liberty safeguarded by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from invasion by state action. It was found impossible to conclude that this essential personal liberty of the citizen was left unprotected by the general guaranty of fundamental rights of person and property." -- Charles Evans Hughes, (Near v. Minnesota, 1931). JRSpriggs (talk) 20:07, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Ideas about the relationship between property rights and freedom of speech are controversial (as all rights discussions are). Wouldn't it be appropriate to present freedom of speech as the right to "... communicate one's opinions and ideas to anyone ..." (which seems more NPOV) and then present different ways of interpreting that right in the article? Beao 15:32, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
JRSpriggs, you're getting your specific point completely mixed up with incorporation of the Bill of Rights against the states. Please read up on both subjects at a law library. Incorporation is one of those difficult areas of law where most of the decent resources are still unavailable online and you have to go to hard copy or private databases like WestlawNext to fully understand it. --Coolcaesar (talk) 11:59, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
I am not mixed up. For whatever reason, the Supreme Court chose not to justify applying the Bill of Rights against the States on the basis of the privileges and immunities clause. Instead they used the due process clause. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes is essentially saying that your right to your body and property include (or imply) your rights to free speech and free press. Freedom of action (including speaking) cannot be separated from freedom to own property because an attack upon one is necessarily an attack upon the other. JRSpriggs (talk) 17:42, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Notions of property rights and its relation to other rights has been a subject of debate within political philosophy for centuries. I don't think Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes changes that. Passing any controversial position as fact is not NPOV. Beao 16:21, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Whether people should have such rights is controversial (in some quarters, but not with me). That the rights (if they exist) include what I have said, is not. Any argument that tries to limit those rights by claiming that they are incorrectly defined is merely a disguised argument against the rights themselves. JRSpriggs (talk) 18:06, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

The whole issue is highly controversial. Your statements may or may not be correct/sound, but they are moral statements and not NPOV. Beao 21:07, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Concur with Beao. There's a reason why nearly every criminal defense lawyer tells their clients to shut up. Either you directly engage the issues in a way that shows you are willing and able to bring your edits within the boundaries of Wikipedia policy. Or you engage the issues in a way that shows you can not and will not. And then that will be cited as evidence against you. --Coolcaesar (talk) 14:26, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

After reviewing all of the discussion above I will repeat my initial position. There are no unbiased authoritative sources for the claim that property is speech or necessary to free speech other than SCOTUS rulings (and thin rulings at that). And it is the thinness of these rulings 5-4 that destroys the credibility of same. It cannot be denied that property can be used to amplify speech, but that does not make these two things equivalent. In the real world, when oligarchs and incorporated legal entities are not restrained from the use of their property (money) in amplifying their particular point of view, all other points of view are denied. This is a monopolization problem in that there is a limited bandwidth to the public discourse and attention span, and the unfettered use of property to enlarge and amplify the speech of a few oligarchs denies speech by, or speech representing, the views of the majority of the citizenry. Money and FREE speech are, to my way of thinking, two different animals. Objective reality seems contradictory to the proposition that they are equivalent or mutually dependent.The Trucker (talk) 18:25, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

To Mikcob: Your statement is hardly NPOV. There is no monopolization. People are free to ignore messages from the supposed 'oligarchs' and look to messages from other sources. In the age of the Internet, there is no constraint on overall bandwidth. Indeed those who want to restrict the use of property to convey messages are the ones who are trying to use the power of the State to monopolize the attention of the people. They just cannot accept that many people disagree with them for good reasons of their own. JRSpriggs (talk) 08:20, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
To JRSpriggs: Whether my statemet is opinion or fact is not really at issue. It is your position that is being discussed and found wanting. The references you have supplied are non authoritative or off topic. For instance, all of the hubub over "The Fairness Docrine" seems to be about "freedom of the press" as opposed to "free speech". I will wait a day or so longer for you to find some crediblle references and if not found I will restore the condition of the article to what it was before your assertion.The Trucker (talk) 04:32, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

A moratorium on thought?[edit]

Recently added to the section on limitations:

"Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided", Chirac said.

This is the stupidest idea I have ever heard. How is anyone supposed to learn anything, if their beliefs cannot be challenged? Are we all supposed to wallow in ignorance because of a few people who react violently to any indication that they may be mistaken? JRSpriggs (talk) 05:05, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

If you wish to argue with Chirac, feel free, but this page is about the article, not about our opinion of the subjects discussed in the article. --jpgordon::==( o ) 16:01, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Chirac is offering advice, not making laws. It is not unlike the advice you might get from a forest ranger: don't tease the bears. You ask, "So how are the bears going to learn to tolerate humans if I don't tease them?" Attacking and offending someone is the approach least likely to teach him anything. You might notice that professional teachers rarely use it. I am not attacking or offending you now. I am inviting you to reconsider your ideas on the subject. Slade Farney (talk) 20:15, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

What suggestion do you have for improving the article? --jpgordon::==( o ) 05:14, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
I kinda like it just as it is -- until we find more "constitutional scholars" who want to gut the Constitution. Then I am looking forward to mounting their heads up beside the other goats. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sfarney (talkcontribs) 05:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Are restrictions on speech necessarily an infringement on the right to free speech?[edit]

The first words in the article state that "Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas.", but the wording of the first paragraph "Governments restrict speech with varying limitations. Common limitations on speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity[...]" makes it sound as if the right to freedom of speech is the right to say any thing at any time. Which is it? Shouldn't this ambiguity be rectified? (talk) 18:45, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

I have edited the section to try to remove this ambiguity as un-invasively as possible. Frankly, I don't see how concepts like copyright infringement and non disclosure agreements are discussed as mutually exclusive with freedom of speech. How does copyright law prevent people from communicating their ideas and beliefs? I would propose that this section be restricted to laws that actually infringe on this right, such as laws against pornography, obscenity, and blasphemy. (talk) 14:56, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
To the IP user: If your above statements are indicative, you do not believe in free speech. Disagreeing with free speech is not a valid reason for narrowing its definition. Therefor, I have reverted you.
For example, a non-disclosure agreement cannot be enforced without punishing the person making the disclosure for communicating the information which is supposed to not be disclosed to others.
Copyright cannot be enforced without prohibiting the communication of works of art which are allegedly copies or derivative works. JRSpriggs (talk) 18:49, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
I do not disagree with free speech, but rather I disagree that Freedom of Speech is the right to say anything at any time, which is what you seem to be implying. If Freedom of Speech is truly "the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas.", as the article states in its very first line, then clearly it is not affected by copyright law or NDAs. Either way, the article is ambiguous as to the definition, and that should be rectified.
I would also mention, as you seem to be a fellow proponent of free speech, that your definition actually harms free speech, as you make it seem like most societies have already made numerous concessions to the right.
Opponents use this to argue that we have already made numerous concession, so what's one more? I should mention that I am also (talk) 09:24, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Freedom is the absence of violence; specifically the non-initiation of physical force against the body or property of another person. If speaking or otherwise attempting to communication with another person justified violence against the speaker, then speech would not be free.
The present form of this article is not what I would prefer. It is already a compromise between those who support free speech (like myself) and those who do not. This is the reason for the confusing wording of some parts of the article.
Virtually everyone favors some freedom of speech — the freedom to say things with which they agree (or at least do not violently disagree). I would not categorize such people as advocates of free speech. An advocate of free speech is someone who favors the freedom to say that which he finds extremely disagreeable (for any reason). The only exception I would make is if the speech is itself violence, i.e. it is so loud that it physically injures (or deafens) someone. Merely "harming" someone's emotional state is not such an exception. JRSpriggs (talk) 15:27, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
So you are in fact of the opinion that Freedom of Speech is the right to say anything at any time. In my experience, this is precisely the definition that most opponents of free speech use. This definition makes it a paper-right that has already been infringed so many times, that to not make another concession is almost hypocrisy. Considering this is a level-4 vital article I urge that someone in authority speaks on this. This is too important! For the record I 100% support the right to criticize and ridicule everything! (talk) 17:09, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Following that literalistic logic, the right to bear arms entitles you to own a bear's arms. Freedom of Speech is not about being free to say whatever, whenever. It's so easy to conceive of situations where you wouldn't want that, that it can't possibly be the definition. It's ridiculous, and I really dislike that you are hijacking this page to promote your own view on the issue. This is in my view a violation of (talk) 09:53, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
JRSpriggs keeps reverting my edit, and is now refusing to engage me in debate. I must ask an admin to step in — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:11, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
Your arguments are incoherent and illogical, so debating you is pointless. Provide an authoritative source to support your absurd position or withdraw! JRSpriggs (talk) 08:57, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
That is an ad hominem argument. (talk) 10:27, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
Just to put in my two bits: Despite having taken strange positions in the past (see above), it looks like JRSpriggs is generally willing to concede for the time being to Wikipedia's consensus-driven policies, definitely has a clearer understanding of the current consensus on what is freedom of speech, and has the better argument here. --Coolcaesar (talk) 05:57, 6 April 2015 (UTC−)
Is there any good source for freedom of speech being the right to say whatever, whenever? All the definitions in the article clearly state that it relates to opinions and ideas. Under that definition things like ndas and copyright law are clearly not infringements. Let me put it as simply as I can in the form of a question: Is the law against insider trading an infringement on the right to Free Speech? Clearly it is not. It's important to distinguish between freedom of speech as a concept, and freedom of speech the basic human right. The basic human right does not entitle you to do insider trading, perform espionage, or lie under oath. (talk) 11:28, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think that the proper resolution to this issue is through a look at the relevant literature, which is what Wikipedia should reflect. A cursory glance at the article lead shows a definition more consistent with the original wording (which JRSpriggs is currently championing) - the ICCPR Article 19 in the final paragraph of the lead. Whether or not it is an acceptable practice for governments to routinely abridge this right is another matter. Although irrelevant to the definition of freedom of speech, I will say that NDAs being contracts are different from government restrictions - you are deliberately abrogating in a limited way your right to freedom of speech in return for whatever consideration is given (information, money, etc). 0x0077BE (talk · contrib) 12:31, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

This seems reasonable to me. However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that the right relates to opinions. The language in the ICCPR seems to attempt to cast a wider net so to speak, but also specifically mentions opinions and explicitly states that it is subject to certain restrictions, and thus restrictions are not necessarily infringements ( which seems foolish to me ). If it truly is the right to say any thing at any time, why mention opinion at all? (talk) 08:14, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Different freedoms sometimes come into conflict with one another. When this happens, things can become ambiguous and there needs to be a way to balance the different freedoms. As such, few freedoms are absolute. Because of this, Freedom of Speech is the right to say most anything, anytime, anywhere, but there are exceptions. It is the exceptions that make discussions about Freedom of Speech interesting and complex. Take hate speech as an example. We have Freedom of Speech on the one hand and freedom from violence on the other. And the interesting question is, when does speech cross the line from protected free speech to become prohibited hate speech. Or in the case of an NDA, that is a contractual agreement in which one party gives up their right to talk about something. If they give up their right voluntarily, I'd say that it wasn't a Freedom of Speech violation. But, if they are compelled to give up their right involuntarily, say in order to get or keep a job, then that could well be a free speech issue, particularly if the subject matter covered by the NDA is overly broad or the power balance between the parties to the contract favor one partly over the other. Or take time, place, and manner restrictions. They can limit loud parties after a certain time of night or loud talk at a public library. While that might restrict free speech, it isn't usually considered a Freedom of Speech violation as long as the restrictions are applied fairly without regard to the ideas being expressed or the individuals or groups expressing them. So you can restrict speech or music to some maximum decibel level, but you can't restrict classical music differently from rock and roll. This Wikipedia article has to convey these subtleties. I think the original wording did a fair job of doing that. --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 15:56, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

"Hate speech" refers to speech which is hated by people who hate freedom of speech. Such speech is falsely alleged to be equivalent to violence against innocents. Hatred is often justified and even necessary. Otherwise, we would not have evolved the ability to hate people, animals or other dangerous things. However, speech, even false and insulting speech, is not dangerous in itself (unless it is extremely loud). So hating speech is not usually justified. JRSpriggs (talk) 04:59, 21 April 2015 (UTC)