Just Saying

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PnC Herald Vol.7 No.3 December Issue, Opinion Page Column: Serendipity

People have different means of expressing themselves. Before, it was usually just through a personal diary or a blog or through communication with others. But people’s way of expressing thoughts and ideas has evolved with technology. Oftentimes, self-expression is done through social media these days. In fact, there are a lot of groups and pages created in order for people to say what they feel, their concerns, etc. either directly, or anonymously. As it seems, everyone has always something to say, everyone is wanting to be heard. From largest issues to smallest nonsense, they never seem to run out of something to say.

The “usual feed” in social media comes out as rants, hate posts, crush confessions, posts about the latest trends and at times, “pabebe” posts. Honestly, I don’t really mind if someone wants to turn their Facebook and Twitter accounts into a public diary, and their Instagram accounts into a “daily life photo album”, or if someone wants to update the whole world with what happened to them every minute of their lives. Although this may be an exaggeration, of course it happens sometimes. You know, those “may maipost lang” (just to post something) type of people. Well, I don’t really care of how one wants to manage their accounts, after all, these are all side effects of freedom of speech and expression.

Freedom of speech as we know, is the right to express one’s opinion and expression. It is sometimes used synonymously with freedom of expression, and it encompasses the right to seek, receive and impart information, ideas and opinion through any media regardless of the frontiers. It is one of the most precious rights of man, however it is also the most abused liberty. Some people tend to use this freedom as an excuse to do or say things that would impair somebody else’s liberty, to hurt another’s feelings or to degrade one’s dignity, which is just not right. Freedom of speech is not limitless, it ends where other rights start. Not because you just feel like saying something, you should already voice it out – most especially through social media where anyone and everyone can see. Why? Simply because most people tend to believe something easily. Often, they would about something regardless of not knowing if it’s true or not, thus contributing to a spread of misinformation. Remember, what has been said could not be undone, and some damages could not be healed by just deleting a post or making a public apology. Just like what Arthur W. Diamond said:

We may accordingly speak, write and print with freedom, but we shall also be responsible fo such abuses of this freedom as defined by law.

There’s nothing wrong with self-expression, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be heard. It becomes wrong when freedom of expression is no longer freedom of expression. As what have been said earlier, freedom of speech is not limitless, it comes with a responsibility. We should be careful of what comes out of our mouth for words are very powerful, it can lift someone up or crush them down. Maybe what I’m just trying to say is, we should think of the possible consequences of what we’re about to say before we let something slip out of our tounge. After all, it is not just freedom of speech that we have, we also have freedom of thought. Use it.

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