Freedom of speech is more important than stopping people inciting racial hatred or other forms of vocal harassment?

On average, everyone agrees with significant nonconsensus between 271 voters.


Please read the comments from other voters below, then scroll down make your decision. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Freedom of speech is more important than stopping people inciting racial hatred or other forms of vocal harassment

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Reasons To Disagree

I think although the right to freedom of speech is fundamentally 'more important' it is also essential for a civilised society to be aware of the damage that unprovoked vocal/verbal harrassment has on the quality of people's lives. Often the people that are harrassed are minority groups in society and suffer discrimination in a variety of ways in their daily lives. An idealistic view is that if a society encourages freedom of speech through proper channels people won't feel the need to vocally harrass others. I believe this would be unrealistic to achieve and that racial / sexual etc harrassment should continue to be highlighted as an anti-social problem and penalised appropriately.

26 September 2005

Expressing dissent or disagreement is a fundamental right and should always be allowed. This is a far cry from the intentional inciting of hatred (racial or otherwise), or verbal assaults on people just on the basis of who they are. It is also a fundamental right not to live at the brunt end of such ignorance.

5 March 2006

Anyone genuinely inciting violence threatening the longterm peace and stability of society must be stopped.

20 August 2006

Freedom of speech is important but only up to a point. The most well-known example being that you shouldn't be free to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre without good cause. Recent example, Paul Henry's ill-informed comments about the Governor General were marginally acceptable as free speech, but his puerile, sniggering, pre-adolescent racist drivel about the Delhi Chief Minister was not.

10 October 2010


Reasons To Agree

Unless people's opinions are voiced, it cannot be known what the general feeling is. Often strong feelings are caused by lack of understanding about the subject, so this gives an opportunity for education and discussion.

1 September 2005

The only reason to disagree with this statement is a fear that you might not like what someone says. Who decides what is the right thing to say about anything anyway? You, me, my uncles underpants? You dont have to agree with what is said, but you should repect the right of someone to say it

25 March 2006

This is a loaded question and should be withdrawn by its poster. It suggests that supporting free speech is tantamount to condoning hate speech. The reality is that they're two separate things. We should regard free speech as an inviolate right - regardless of the uses some may put it to. As for those who use the right for abominable purposes, such as inciting racial hatred - well, our response should be to speak out freely against their propositions, but never to muzzle them.

11 April 2007

People need to make up their own minds and sheltering them from this kind of hatred stops them from forming opinions. Hear it, hate it, fight it.

12 January 2008

fuck "pc"

1 May 2008

Freedom of Speech will always be more important than stopping people from making hate speech. The story goes, that if you give your government enough power to take away that freedom for some, you'll never be sure when it will be they'll decide that your speech is hate speech [against society, the government, the church, etc].

7 June 2008

Definately. Let the small minded people who are full of hate say what they like, what we can't afford to do is let the government tell us what we can and can't say.

4 November 2008

FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. Where would we be without it? The earth would be flat! There'd be no religions whatever - that's a plus! No politicians - another plus! No political parties - an even bigger plus! Hey - whose side am I on? Freedom of speech enables one to put forward ones ideas - and others to judge both the idea and the promulgator. Without freedom of speech, how do you recognise your opposition or enemy?

1 September 2009

The Voltaire principle still holds. The best way to avoid racist a*holes is to let them tell you they are racist a*holes.

27 August 2012

Freedom of speech is almost an absolute right (yelling FIRE in a theatre or slander are exceptions).

2 December 2012

Reasons for Remain Neutral

it is an essential human right to feel safe and unharassed. Being harassed for your identity should be wrong ALTHOUGH being harassed for your actions is fine... i should be able to disagree with someone and get angry with someone because they offend me

15 February 2006

Freedom of speach is not about the individual right to be a loud mouth. it is about the right for the listeners to hear various and uncensored points of view. Individuals have no right to impose their speech on anybody, especially if they think their voice ought to crowd out the voices of others.

27 December 2007

My View

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