Freedom of Expression

Many people use “Freedom of Expression” as protection when they insult others. However, using this as a shield can create conflicts such as the event which occurred in Paris.

Charlie Hebdo, the satirical cartoon, published many images of what is banned in Islam, the Prophet Muhammad. Later an attack occurred in Paris aiming for the publishers. Many say that the incident was not protected by the “Freedom of Expression”. Looking at the definition of hate speech, I believe that the depiction of Muhammad is considered as a hate speech as it “attacks a group on the basis of attributes of religion”. Since the cartoon crossed the gray line and attacked a religion it is not protected by the “Freedom of Expression”.

Many say that the incident was protected by the amendment, however, it is hard to tell if they were protected, as here is no clear line dividing the “Freedom of Expression” and “Hate Speech”. According to the Guardian, Pope Francis states, “every religion has its dignity.” As Pope states, we can not insult other religions saying that we are protected by the “Freedom of Expression”. Some say that we should get rid of this amendment, but I believe that the solution to this problem is to draw a line in which if an individual’s speech attacks a race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender, they shall be punished.

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