Freedom of speech


Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the right to state one's opinions and ideas without being stopped or punished. Sometimes this is also called Freedom of expression.
Most people think freedom of speech is necessary for a democratic government. In countries without free speech, people might be afraid to say what they think. Then, the government does not know what the people want. If it does not know what they want, it cannot respond to their wants. Without free speech, the government does not have to worry as much about doing what the people want. Some people say this is why some governments do not allow free speech: they do not want to be criticised, or they fear there would be revolution if everyone knew everything that was happening in the country.
A well-known liberal thinker, John Stuart Mill thinks that freedom of speech is not as important because everyone should have a right to express him or herself, but because the society they live in should have a right to hear that person's ideas.
Few countries with "free speech" let everything be said. In America, you are not allowed to shout "fire" in a crowded theater if there is no fire, because this might cause people to panic. After World War II, Germany banned some Nazi ideas.


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