This phrase has been written, used, read and heard more than a million times when it comes to sharing a person's opinion about something he or she agrees or disagrees with. This phrase is also oftentimes used by people from the press to stretch their rights to speak freely even up to the point of damaging other people's reputation and character. When can we actually say that our freedom to speak is still tolerable or do we use this reason to abuse others?
Yesterday, a friend from my high school days wrote an email to our yahoogroups asking if anyone has a copy of a blog posted by high school students from my alma mater which caused their suspension from attending classes. I immediately googled the issue hoping to find the student's blogs. After less than five minutes, i was reading one of the blogs written against the school principal and her management styles. I also found out that this issue was aired in a news segment from a leading tv station and also written in a leading national newspaper.
To summarize the issue, a number of students had decided to write blogs about their sentiments on how their school was being managed by a principal they think is not qualified to lead their school. Since most of the students are young and very idealistic, they used strong words against their principal which is damaging to her character and credentials. Upon discovery of these blogs, the principal decided to cut internet connection at their school, suspended the students for 10 days and even banned the publication of two of their school's paper. Her reason for her actions were the blogs were so damaging to her reputation and even the reputation of the whole school was also affected once read by anyone who has internet access.
Since the issue was already known to a lot of tv and news reporters, the case was reviewed by the country's Department of Education officials. As of this moment, the parents of the suspended students also made an appeal regarding the suspension which they think was too harsh for the children.
So, is this situation a classic example of a person's right of freedom to speak being supressed or is it a case of abuse of this right?