Free Speech Essay Examples and Topics

Essay Examples
Essay Topics
Brief overview
Main Ideas

Free speech or Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the right to freedom of expression. This principle is based on the freedom of an entire community as well as the individual. According to it, people should be able to articulate their ideas and opinions without legal sanctions, censorship, or retaliation.


Free speech predates the international human rights instruments of today. Some believe that this principle emerged in the form of the Athenian democratic principle in the late 6th century. It was vindicated by Milton and Erasmus and in the 1590s, free speech was claimed as an ‘’ancient custom of Parliament”. Freedom of speech was first adopted in 1791 in the US as a feature of the First Amendment to the Constitution.


Free speech is not something absolute and there are many limitations and boundaries to it. However, this principle as well as the laws that exist to support it are created to allow people the liberty to speak up their mind without being victims of censorship, legal sanctions, and discrimination.

  • Freedom of speech is not just a principle, but something covered by constitutional law in many countries around the world. It includes any activity of receiving, seeking, or sharing information or ideas.
  • Still, people aren’t at full liberty to share just about anything. Common boundaries and limitations to it relate to slander, libel, pornography, obscenity, sedition, fighting words, incitement, classified information, trade secrets, copyright violations, non-disclosure agreements, dignity, the right to privacy, public security, the right to be forgotten, and perjury.
Key Quotes
  • “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice"
  • “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference”
Interesting Facts

Free speech is now a regional and international recognized human rights law. It is enshrined in article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and in article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights. Freedom of speech is categorized as a negative right, which means that while the government cannot take action against speakers that share their views, no one is obliged to help them publish them, or listen or agree with them.

Arguments for
  • Freedom of speech promotes the exchange of ideas;
  • It advances knowledge for societies;
  • Free speech minimizes and eliminates discrimination;
  • It can expose unlawful or immoral activities;
  • Freedom of speech makes everybody equal.
Arguments against
  • Freedom of speech is often the reason for spreading false information;
  • It can incite violence;
  • Freedom of speech can create mob mentality;
  • It causes people to endure verbal abuse without consequences.
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